With our better place to shop promise we aim to bring healthier eating into the mainstream. A key element in this is reformulating thousands of everyday own-brand products, reducing added sugar, salt and saturated fats. Here is one example of how we are improving the nutritional quality of our own-brand products with no compromise on taste or price.
Most people consume too much salt, says the World Health Organization (WHO) — around twice the recommended maximum. Why does it matter? Because a diet too high in salt can contribute to high blood pressure, and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. According to WHO, 2.5 million deaths each year* could be prevented, simply by reducing global salt consumption to the recommended level.
As a food retailer, this is an area where we can make a real difference for our customers, and our communities. We have made reformulating our own-brand food products a key priority: not only reducing salt, but also sugar and saturated fats.
In Belgium, Delhaize aspires to offer own-brand products that are as good, if not better, nutritionally than national brand equivalents. Every year, the brand reformulates approximately 1,500 of its own-brand food products.
Delhaize Belgium set itself the ambitious target of removing 25% of salt from 11 varieties of bread - including brown bread, six-grain bread with Omega 3, and panther bread. Careful testing assured no compromise on taste, quality or shelf-life. Proving the point, in 2016 alone, Delhaize Belgium removed 17 tons of salt from its range of own-brand bread. And that was after it already removed 38 tons of salt from bread sold in 2010 and 2011! As a result, Belgian customers are appreciating healthier alternatives of the food they love.
Why this major focus on bread?
The short answer is: Belgians love their bread. “Bread is the second largest contributor of salt to the Belgian diet,” says Category Manager Bakery Julie Conti. “The average Belgian eats approximately 130 grams of bread daily. That already accounts for 30-40% of the maximum daily recommendation.”
How do they do it?
To achieve the goal of 25% salt reduction without sacrificing taste, Delhaize combines regular salt with Posidonia Sea Salt©. This unique type of salt, harvested in Formentera, Spain, possesses exceptional taste but only 8% sodium. The Formentera Salt Fields are more than 2,600 years old and protected by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
By simply switching to “Posidonia bread” a family of 4 to 5 people can reduce its salt intake by as much as one kilogram per year. For one person, that is 200 grams, the equivalent of two full table saltshakers! On TV, radio, social media and billboards, Delhaize Belgium communicated the major benefits of its revised bread range to customers and communities, showing how we deliver on our ambition to make healthier eating easy – and equally tasty.
“Bread is the second largest contributor of salt to the Belgian diet,” says Category Manager Bakery Julie Conti. “The average Belgian eats approximately 130 grams of bread daily. That already accounts for 30-40% of the maximum daily recommendation.””