THE SPOTLIGHT is firmly on Britains eating habits at the moment, so its becoming increasingly important for companies to take responsibility for the role theyre playing in the UKs expanding waist line. With one in six meals eaten outside the home, its particularly pertinent for the catering industry to demonstrate its commitment to offering customers nutritional meals and snacks.
The catering sector has a vital role to play in improving public health, which is why pledges such as the Public Health Responsibility Deal are so important.
The latest pledges around salt reduction in the catering industry are a huge step in the right direction. These pledges arent just about ticking boxes, theyve been tailored specifically for this industry to support companies in moving forward and, importantly, enable customers to make informed and nutritionally correct choices in their every day lives.
The Responsibility Deals salt reduction pledge focuses on three areas of a caterers business: training and kitchen practice, reformulation, and procurement. It has made all the tools required readily available so that companies can really step up and lead the way in demonstrating best practice.
The well-being of customers should be at the forefront of every caterers mind. At BaxterStorey we recognise the importance of embracing public health challenges, such as salt reduction, which is why our whole philosophy is based on creating dishes from the best, fresh, raw ingredients. This means our food is naturally low in salt already, but some manufacturers will come across difficulties, especially when it comes to producing ready meals that require a consistent flavour.
We believe that the onus is on us to offer choice to our customers. By creating recipes from natural and fresh ingredients we present them with a nutritionally balanced meal that contains minimal or no salt and hydrogenated fat.
Clearly we are seeing improvements; England has seen the average amount of salt consumed decline in the last four years, but there is still some way to go. The foodservice industry needs to get behind pledges such as the Public Health Responsibility Deal and endeavour to reformulate the products they serve to reduce unnecessary ingredients such as salt ultimately giving back choice to the consumer and making way for a healthier Britain.
John Bennett is co-chief executive at BaxterStorey, an independent foodservice provider for business and industry.