Patient Education The Unilever Salt Calculator Project

Did you know that one in three adults suffer from high blood pressure, and that one of the greatest contributors to this often life-threatening ailment is an excess of salt in our daily diets?

With this in mind, Unilever partnered up with the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa to develop the Salt Calculator Project that seeks to increase consumer awareness regarding how much salt they should eat each day, where hidden salt comes into play, and how they can manage their salt intake by finding healthier alternatives. Our goal was to bring about tangible change and stimulate a demand for products with lower salt contents in the near future.

And what a victory it has been! Not only did we successfully manage to impact the lives of thousands of our fellow South Africans, but we also provided them with a failsafe online tool that they could use to measure whether or not they were meeting or exceeding their daily average salt intake. This tool was a digital Salt Calculator which (over the course of the campaign month) reached 10 088 unique users and had 163 336 unique page views. Our informative project also featured in numerous print publications around the country such as the All 4 Women magazine, the Sunday Times and Daily Sun – the latter reaching over 11 000 readers. The Salt Calculator also saw success in online publications via iono FM, Health24 and Good Housekeeping. All-in-all, the whole awareness effort was a resounding success. Need some motivation? Here’s why you should cut down on your daily salt intake and remain clued in and informed when it comes to which foods already have high natural salt volumes.

Most of us take in double the amount of salt recommended by adding salt to food after we’ve cooked it, but what most of us forget is that salt occurs naturally in food, such as assorted seafood and root vegetables. Like we mentioned earlier, one in three adults suffer from high blood pressure. Eating too much salt is a risk factor for high blood pressure (hypertension) and other heart diseases. This means that families spend more on healthcare annually while governments spend more on healthcare subsidies in turn.

Becoming aware of our salt intake through tools such as the Salt Calculator helps us make better food choices to help decrease the daily amount of salt we eat to help lower our risk of cardiovascular diseases.