The WHO recommends an upper daily intake of 5 g of salt (about 2,000 mg of sodium), alongside at least 3,510 mg of potassium, in order to reduce risk of high blood pressure, which is considered a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Nestlé said that this latest pledge, to support the WHO guidelines, would mean further salt reductions in its savoury products, including well-known brands like Maggi, Stouffer’s, DiGiorno and Buitoni. It said that all new products would also be formulated with lower levels of salt.
A corporate spokesperson did not answer questions about how the company's latest pledge would work to achieve the WHO goals, but he said the company improved its products "through our efforts and investments in R&D".
In a statement, nutrition, health and wellness manager at Nestlé Food, Henri-Pierre Lenoble, said: “We have made great strides in reducing the salt content of our food products in recent years and we want to build on that progress.
“Our goal is to offer consumers products that enable them to make practical, healthy nutritional choices, every day.”
The company first pledged to cut salt in its products in 2005, and claims it was the first to introduce a policy of systematic reduction for specific nutrients thought to be unhealthy when over-consumed. Since then, the company has reduced salt in its UK Maggi SoJuicy seasoning range by 20-40%, and cut salt in its Buitoni frozen pizzas in France by nearly 20%.
“Nestlé’s gradual approach to reducing salt levels helps consumers gradually adapt their taste for salt, making them more likely to continue to make healthier choices in the future,” the company said.
In addition, it said last year that it would cut salt in high sodium products like soups, noodles, ready meals and pizzas by 10% by 2016. And in September, Nestlé partnered with a US-based life sciences company, Chromocell Corporation, in an effort to identify compounds that could be used to replace salt without compromising taste.