discuss proposed targets and get industry feedback. Based upon these consultations, proposed targets were developed and publicly released for final technical comment in early January 2010. Final targets were announced in Spring 2010.
The NSRI is conducting parallel sodium reduction approaches for packaged food and for restaurant food. The two are similar in terms of time line, metrics, reporting structure, and monitoring. However, differences in patterns of consumption and data sources require unique food categories and target setting approaches. In each case, the steps include defining and establishing food categories, proposing targets, reviewing industry feedback, announcing 2012 and 2014 targets, assessing progress toward food targets, and measuring changes in population sodium intake over time. Two unique databases were created to support this initiative, one specific to packaged food and a second tailored to restaurant food.
When the NSRI launched, no comprehensive national database existed that linked individual packaged food sales and nutrition information by Universal Product Code (UPC). To create this database, the NYC Health Department purchased sales data from the Nielsen Company (Nielsen), a market research company that aggregates packaged food sales data from major U.S. retailers. The time period for baseline sales data is the 52 weeks ending December 31, 2008; over 240 Nielsen categories were purchased. Nielsen sales and Guiding Stars Licensing Company nutrition data tables were merged by UPC. Product manufacturers’ publicly available nutrition information was used to complete and verify nutrition data. Because sales data for private label products is included in Nielsen, private label market share could be determined; however, nutrition data for private label products could not be linked to Nielsen sales data. Private label sodium information was collected separately for comparison to the category mean and range. A recognized limitation of the database is that it does not include food sold to the foodservice market or retailers that do not submit data to Nielsen.
As demonstrated by the UK initiative, individual food categories must be sufficiently refined to assure that included products are similar with