16 Aug

Ahead of the Curve on Salt Reduction

Cheeky’s stable (field) mate is leading healthy cheese innovation in foodservice

Cheeky Chef Ray LorimerWhile Cheeky boasts all things half fat, her stable mate – a half fat cheddar cheese with 30% less salt – is ahead of the curve when it comes to healthy cheese supply to the foodservice (think schools, military and other Government catering operations), according to Cheeky Cow Development Chef Ray Lorimer.

Why am I writing this then?? Well we’re obviously totally proud of Cheeky Cow but, ultimately, what wakes us up in the morning here at Cheeky HQ is making healthy cheese taste great and yesterday Radio 4 covered a story about the findings of the ‘Salt reduction in England from 2003 to 2011: its relationship to blood pressure, stroke and ischaemic heart disease mortality’ study.

Salt intake falls 15% and Heart Deaths Fall 40%, so shout the headline findings, with average Blood Pressure (BP) in the adult population in England decreasing by 3¼ mm Hg from 2003 to 2011. These falls can be attributable to various factors such as the reduction in salt intake, the increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, and the improvement in BP treatment and control.

It’s good progress of course but there’s still some work to do, as Clare Farrand from World Action on Salt hints, “it would be a gross breach of ethical and social responsibility for companies not to reduce salt as the benefits of salt reduction are so clear”.

As mentioned, this is something particularly close to our hearts here at Cricketer Farm. In 2011, as the leading UK Half and Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese specialist, our MD Greg Parsons drove product development in line with the Department of Health’s drive for lower salt in food from the food manufacturing industry. This led our product development team to scratch their heads and after many a late night in our top secret ‘Cheese Room’, we launched the new healthier half fat (50%) cheddar cheese with 30% less salt under the Eatwell Cheese Company Brand, specifically aimed at the Foodservice sector. In addition the cheese has also 36% less calories, 19% more protein and 13% more calcium.

A unique Dragon’s Den style product presentation to Compass UKs ‘The Idea Works’ followed, and, as Cricketer’s Culinary Development and Wellness Advisor – I joined Greg Parsons to present the cheese to top Compass Procurement, Marketing and Culinary Executives (watch us here! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64u7sdINvfg

Compass have now successfully launched the Eatwell Half fat Low salt Cheese across their Defence business with plans to increase its usage throughout the business.

Half Fat Low Salt cheese in its launch year was also awarded the Footprint Health & Vitality Honours Responsible Manufacturer award and additionally out of all the awards was also named Product of the Year. It has also been recognised by the Craft Guild of Chefs one of the UKs leading Professional Chef Associations.

We’ve also been working with the Department of Health and in 2012 became an inaugural partner of the government’s voluntary initiative, The Responsibility Deal, pledging to reduce salt, lower fat and calories and increase sporting activity in the community and at work. Our work also extends into our communities, working at a local level with schools, colleges and caterers by supporting them with healthier recipes with no added salt and lots more vegetables, fruit and herbs.

However, although the report findings suggest average salt intake has fallen between 2003 and 2011 from 9.5g a day to 8.1g a day (about 15%), they are still well above the 6g limit so there is still a lot of work to do.

This is therefore the perfect opportunity for foodservice businesses to use what we have done here at Cricketer Farm as a blueprint to adapt to their own business, ultimately helping provide caterers with healthier base ingredients like cheese so we can all work together to help the nation to, “Eatwell on a balanced diet, Move More with a little more exercise and Enjoy Life Longer!

And thus, my parting shot is to challenge you, you foodservice businesses you, to join us in developing healthier products that taste great!

Thanks all. Cheeky Chef Ray Lorimer
Ray Lorimer – Cricketer Farm Culinary Development and Wellness Advisor

As Ray headed back to the Cheese Room, he was heard saying “it be simples see!”


Image: According to the Guardian, new research suggests link between the fall in salt consumption and a drop in heart attack and stroke fatalities. Photograph: Hera Food / Alamy/Alamy
Source BMJ Open April 2014  http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/4/4/e004549.full