Recent data from Mintel shows that consumers are starting to pay more attention to their intake of sodium as more than half (52 percent) are monitoring the amount in their diets.
Meanwhile, food product introductions with a low-, no-, or reduced-sodium claim have increased by nearly 115 percent 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," says 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."
Mintel sees four main opinions regarding sodium intake. Some 22 percent of people 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 percent say that "food and beverages low in sodium are one of the three most important components of a healthy diet"; 26 percent 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; and 34 percent do not pay attention to sodium.