Reducing salt consumption is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Eating less salt reduces blood pressure, and thereby lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease.
In Vietnam, NCDs currently account for 75% of all deaths, mainly due to cardiovascular diseases. There is an urgent need for appropriate population-based interventions.
Salt reduction is a focus for the Resolve to Save Lives (RTSL) initiative, which is developing new salt reduction programs in Vietnam. One possible strategy to reduce salt intake is the use of salt substitutes.
This catalyst project will assess consumer acceptability, market feasibility and the cost-effectiveness of introducing multiple salt substituted foods in Vietnam.
The project will provide insights for scaling the intervention to a national level through generating research evidence and collaboration with researchers, policy makers, industry, and the community.
The project comprises four parts carried out concurrently:
- Part one involves the development of a sodium-reduced fish sauce.
- Part two comprises testing consumer and sensory acceptability of the product.
- Part three assesses the feasibility of large-scale production and distribution of multiple salt-substituted foods.
- Part four assesses the cost-effectiveness of the above interventions.
The project is expected to result in the production of salt-reduced fish sauces, seasoning and table salt that are appropriate for Vietnam. The products will be:
- healthier, tasty and appealing to consumers and communities;
- commercially of interest to food industry and manufacturers; and
- cost-effective for government policy makers and result in a lower burden of NCDs in Vietnam.
This Vietnam-based project will also provide a proof-of-principle and framework that will benefit salt-reduction programs globally.
The development of a sodium-reduced fish sauce (part one), the market feasibility work stream (part three) and the cost-effectiveness workstream (part four) are completed. Due to delays caused by COVID-19, the final activity, testing consumer and sensory acceptability of the product, (part two) is currently planned to be completed by April 2021.