Examples of Recent Efforts by the Restaurant/ Foodservice Industry to Reduce Sodium Intake
Aramark has introduced a menu icon system to inform consumers of menu items that are considered more healthful choices. For a menu item to receive a Heart Healthy icon, it must contain 480 mg of sodium or less.a Aramark offers lower-sodium foods in elementary school cafeteriasb and has committed to meet the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) sodium standards through a 5 percent annual reduction over the next 10 years as part of a White House initiative on childhood obesity.c
Burger King has introduced several reduced-sodium items and meals in recent months, including reformulated chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, and multiple kids’ meals with 600 mg of sodium or less.d
Chartwells School Dining Services, as part of a White House initiative on childhood obesity, plans to meet IOM’s sodium standards over the next 10 years by pursuing discussions with suppliers to develop products that meet the standards.e
Compass Group has a menu icon system to inform consumers that certain menu items are more healthful choices. Two of the icons have requirements for sodium: the Fit icon (600 mg of sodium or less) and the Reduced Sodium icon (servings must have 25 percent less sodium than the original version).f In order to use the icon system, chefs and managers must complete a 10-hour web-based nutrition program and answer test questions with 100 percent accuracy, and chefs must complete a day-long, hands-on training that includes reduced-sodium production techniques, which they then teach to others in their units.g
ConAgra announced in January 2008 that it would offer all of its Chef Boyardee food-service products with lower sodium content. The new line of canned pasta products contain fewer than 820 mg of sodium per serving.h
Denny’s recently made 20–25 percent reductions in the sodium content of its hash browns, shrimp skewers, and cheese sauce and has plans to make additional modifications to items it provides as part of its “Better for You” and children’s menus (Scarpa, 2009).
Jason’s Deli reduced the sodium in kids’ meals by more than 20 percent in 2009i