The new research project “Packing a Healthier Lunch” aims at developing products with a lower content of salt and saturated fat. Orkla Foods Norge is one of the project participants.
Norway, along with WHO, FAO and 194 other countries, has pledged to reduce the population’s salt intake by 30% by 2025. The first interim goal is a 15% reduction by 2018. Minister of Health Bent Høie has issued an invitation to a joint effort to cut Norwegians’ salt intake, a proposal that is supported by the food manufacturers and research institutes participating in the “Packing a Healthier Lunch” project.
A Norwegian packed lunch often consists of bread, processed cheese and cured sausage. These foods significantly boost the intake of salt and fat. The objective of the “Packing a Healthier Lunch” project is to develop bread and processed cheese that contain less salt, and sausage containing less saturated fat and salt.
Product Development Director Laila Horgen is the main contact person for the project at Orkla Foods Norge.
“Orkla Foods Norge is taking part in this project because we take health and wellness seriously. This project is one of several measures that we are carrying out to further improve our ability to develop and manufacture healthier, better products. Reducing salt and saturated fat is high on the health authorities’ agenda, and one of our prime objectives. When we improve products that consumers eat a lot of, our work impacts directly on public health. We take this responsibility seriously. Our aim in participating actively in the «Packing a Healthier Lunch» project is to focus on enhancing our own products, especially the products we sell a lot of,” says Laila Horgen.
In this project, Orkla Foods Norge will be concentrating on various types of sausage and salami, but intends to apply the experience and knowledge it acquires to improving other processed meat products.
Randi Kvarberg at Orkla Foods Norge headed the SALTO research project, which was completed in 2014 and built up expertise on salt and salt substitutes. The knowledge acquired from the SALTO project will be further developed in the “Packing a Healthier Lunch” project, increasing expert insight into product composition, nutrition, technology and processing.
Orkla Foods Norge has contributed both funding and a considerable number of work hours. The initial experiments will be conducted at the Nofima research institute, after which Orkla Foods Norge will continue to test recipes and processes in its own operations. This work will be headed by Randi Kvarberg. Linn Anne Brunborg, Nutrition and Health Manager, will also be involved.
“Reducing both salt and saturated fat at the same time poses considerable challenges. Through this project we hope to achieve the goals we have set. We will be examining the extent to which we can lower salt and fat content without compromising food safety or food texture or reducing consumer acceptance,” says Laila Horgen.