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Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) and VicHealth have joined forces to offer up to $300,000 in salt reduction innovation grants to SMEs.

Grants of up to $25,000 are available to help small to medium enterprises reformulate their products to reduce the amount of salt used.

“While there is increased demand for lower salt food options, smaller food manufacturers often don’t know where to go for external advice on reformulation,” FIAL MD Dr Mirjana Prica said.

“We’ve combined these grants with our online portal that connects food manufacturers to experts in food innovation, technology and business development.”

FIAL's Building Healthier Foods platform provides a pathway to connect food manufacturers with an expert to support their project, with experts also available to assist with grant applications.

VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter said around 75 per cent of salt in Victorians’ diet comes from processed foods which is why reformulation is critical.

“We know Victorians eat far too much salt, putting them at risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes,” she said.

“Salt kills six times more Victorians than the annual road toll but if we reduced our salt intake by just three grams – which is less than a teaspoon - per day, we would save 800 lives from stroke and heart attacks.

“Reformulation is so important in reducing population salt intake, and these grants are a great way to empower smaller companies to create healthier, lower salt products.”

Applications open 1 July, with a rolling assessment until 31 December, with start-ups and SMEs with a footprint in Victoria encouraged to apply.