Pass the salt? Mintel research shows sodium usage starting to change its course

August 10, 2009

Chicago (August 11, 2009)—Americans love sodium and most of us consume considerably more than we should on a daily basis. Mintel’s recent data shows consumers are starting to pay more attention to their intake as more than half (52%) are monitoring the amount of sodium in their diets.
Meanwhile, food product introductions containing a low, no or reduced sodium claim have increased by nearly 115% from 2005 to 2008, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD). Consumer awareness and the continued push from public health organizations and consumer advocacy groups suggest that the low-sodium change is gaining steam.
“The rapidly rising evidence in the past several years points out sodium as a major cause of hypertension, osteoporosis, kidney damage and stomach cancer,” states David Lockwood, director of consumer insights at Mintel. “Because of this scientific knowledge mixed with that of global health activists, there is a climate forming for rapid change. We are starting to see this information set into motion with a reduction in sodium on packaged goods and restaurant menus.”
What are consumers currently doing about sodium? Mintel sees four main types:

22% restrict the amount of salt that they add to food, but don’t watch the much greater amount of sodium that is in foods and beverages
18% say that “food and beverages low in sodium are one of the three most important components of a healthy diet”
26% read labels for sodium, and may make some decisions based on this info, but they are not following a regimen to control sodium in their diet
34% do not pay attention to sodium

It helps that the craving for salt can truly be lowered over time. Mintel’s research supports this, as three out of four respondents who say they are on a sodium-restricted diet also say that they “do not miss the salt.” Being able to cut back is critical, given that 70% of over-75 women and 80% of over-75 men are currently on medication for hypertension.
Join Mintel’s David Lockwood and Krista Faron, senior analyst, to learn more about “Sodium: The next trans fat?” during a free webinar, August 12, 2009 at 2:00 pm CDT. Register here.
About Mintel
Mintel is a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence. For more than 35 years, Mintel has provided insight into key worldwide trends, offering unique data that directly impacts client success. With offices in Chicago, London, Belfast, Sydney, Shanghai and Tokyo, Mintel has forged a unique reputation as a world-renowned business brand. For more information on Mintel, please visit Mintel on Twitter:

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