Speaking at a webinar hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (click HERE), T&L senior category manager, health & wellness Nancy Gaul said that in snacks in particular, “Stealth sodium reductions far exceed overt reductions [where the change is communicated prominently on pack].”
Terms such as ‘a hint of salt’ are more appealing than low/reduced sodium claims
While most consumers claim to be trying to reduce sodium, and all major food companies have invested significant time and resources to sodium reduction initiatives, shouting 'now with less sodium!' on pack is not a winning strategy for food marketers, claimed Gaul.
(See new data from NPD Group about consumer attitudes to sodium reduction HERE.)
Indeed, just 2% of new launches in crackers, potato chips, and tortilla chips; 5% of new launches in popcorn; and 11% of new launches in snack nuts feature overt low/reduced sodium claims, added Gaul, although the overall percentage of new products in the US retail market featuring such claims has actually risen from 2.1% in 2010 to 4.5% in 2014.
However, there has been a recent trend to use terms such as ‘a hint of salt’ on pack, which is seen as more appealing to consumers, she said.
FDA is considering voluntary sodium reduction targets
Despite the concern expressed by many manufacturers over building a business case for sodium reduction in light of consumer indifference, the pressure to reduce sodium remains as intense as ever, with the FDA now considering issuing voluntary targets (click HERE), added Gaul.