Reducing salt

We want to play our part in making it easier for people to reduce their salt intake. So we are reducing salt in our retail and food service food products.

Small amounts of salt (sodium) in the diet are essential. However, too much can lead to raised blood pressure.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily intake of no more than 5g.1

As stated in the Dietary Guidelines for Indians, A Manual (PDF)- Indian data indicate that per capita consumption of salt ranges from less than 5g to 30g/day in different States with almost 40% of population consuming about 10g/day.

Research2 shows that reducing salt by as little as 1g per day can reduce strokes by 5% and heart attacks by 3%.

How are we reducing salt?

We are committed to reducing salt levels in our portfolio; see our position statement (PDF | 241KB).

Salt has its own taste, enhances other flavours and continues to play a role in preserving food. We need to take this into account when reducing salt levels in our products to avoid compromising taste or quality. We usually reduce salt in small steps to enable people to adapt to the changes in taste – this is essential to prevent people adding salt back onto their food at the table.

We achieve salt reduction in a number of ways. We reformulate products based on scientifically sound benchmarks (PDF). We enhance natural flavour using herbs and spices.

We encourage people to reduce their salt intakes through behaviour change initiatives. To create these using best available research, in 2012–13 we conducted multi-stakeholder workshops together with the International Union of Nutritional Sciences (IUNS). One result of the workshops was the launch of our easy-to-use Salt Calculator specifically for Indians in 2012. This helps people understand which foods are contributing the most salt to their diet, and encourages changes in food choices. The calculator can be used as part of a dietary assessment and has been shared with healthcare professionals at nutrition congresses.

Ongoing improvement

We now have a requirement to reduce salt every time one of our savoury products is reformulated. When designing new savoury and dressings products our salt standards are taken into account.

1 Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation. WHO technical report series 916. Geneva 2003 and WHO Guideline: Sodium intake for adults and children. Geneva: World Health Organization; WHO 2012.

2 Examples of research include: He FJ, MacGregor GA. How far should salt intake be reduced? Hypertension. 2003 Dec; 42(6):1093-9); and Strazzullo P, D’Elia L, Kandala NB, Cappuccio FP. Salt intake, stroke, and cardiovascular disease: meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ 2009; 339: b4567.

Back to top


We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.


Get in touch with Unilever and specialist teams in our headquarters or find contacts around the world.

Contact us