Major initiative for public health
On 5 October 2015, Nofima and 52 other actors signed a historical agreement to formalise collaboration between Norwegian government authorities, research institutes and industrial partners.
Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, managing director of Nofima, participated together with, among others, representatives from Tine, Orkla, Norgesgruppen, NHO mat og drikke and the Norwegian Consumer Council.
The principal objectives of the partnership are to increase awareness that a reduction in salt intake would improve public health, and to work towards reducing the amount of salt in processed food. This is to be achieved by increasing knowledge, carrying out research and development, monitoring the levels of salt in food products, improving labelling, and providing information for consumers.
As a first specific project, companies within the same industry have together drawn up target values for the levels of salt in approximately 100 food products. Tom Chr. Johanessen, master butcher, and André Løvaas, master baker, have participated from Nofima, and they have been central members of the working groups for meat and bakery products, respectively.
“The reduction in salt must take place gradually such that the consumers become accustomed to a less salty taste, and to prevent them going over to other brands or imported products with higher salt contents. The potential for reduction in different groups of food products differs, since salt is important for taste, physical properties and food safety. This is where Nofima is deeply involved, with its research expertise within taste, food safety, raw materials and processing,” says adviser Ida Synnøve Grini of Nofima.
During the launch of the partnership, research manager Ragni Ofstad of Nofima contributed a scientific presentation detailing the properties of salt and various challenges.
Nofima has participated in several research projects about salt, and has built up its own networks together with the Norwegian Directorate of Health. Further, Nofima has together with NTP and NHO mat og drikke held arrangements for the industry around the theme of salt.
Nofima represents the R&D environments in the partnership.