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Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
FIGURE 2-10 Number of lower-sodium (no-, low-, or reduced-sodium) foods introduced each year (as indicated by the y-axis), 1989–2004.
SOURCE: CSPI, 2005b. “Salt: The forgotten killer.” Reprinted with permission.
to 4.1 percent in 2008 and further to 3.8 percent in 2009.14 Although the percentage of new food introductions making sodium claims has changed little over the past decade, manufacturers report that they have decreased the sodium in their products without advertising the changes. This may be because some consumers tend to associate low- and reduced-sodium foods with poor taste (Heidolph, 2008; IFIC, 2009), as stated by participants at the committee’s public information-gathering workshop (March 30, 2009). The interest in using sodium content claims compared to other types when introducing new food products that bear nutrient content claims is shown in Figure 2-11. The data in Figure 2-11 (Weimer, 1999) show that new product introductions use sodium-related claims less frequently than fat and calorie claims. Also, consistent with the discussion above on the general use of nutrient content claims, salt and other nutrient claims on newly introduced products generally follow a pattern of increasing, peaking, and decreasing trends in use.
Overall, the introduction of new products specifically labeled as low or reduced in sodium has been limited and has decreased over time. Given the interwoven nature of manufacturer motivations and consumer demand, there appears to be consistency in the relative rank order that consumers place on sodium concerns and their declining interest in sodium, as dis-
Personal communication, T. Vierhile, Datamonitor, Canandaigua, NY, February 1, 2010.