Like fat and sugar, people have always loved salt. However, in the quantity it has been consumed, it has not loved people back. According to Health Canada, Canadians consume 3400 mg of sodium per day, over twice the recommended intake and well over the recommended limit of 2,400 mg.[i] Exceeding the recommended amount of sodium causes many adverse health effects, such as kidney disease, high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular events. This leads to approximately 2.5 million deaths per year.[ii]
Consumers have begun to take notice to the danger of the overconsumption of salt. While people typically underestimate the amount of sodium they are consuming, two thirds of people are still trying to reduce sodium in their diets.[iii] There is also economic reasons for limiting sodium intake. According to The American Heart Organization, reducing salt intake to 5g/day (2000 mg of sodium) would save over $426 billion in health care and reduce cases of high blood pressure by 25.6%.[iv]
The most obvious way to reduce sodium in one’s diet is to simply choose healthier foods that have less sodium. Processed foods are responsible for 75% of salt people intake,[v] so avoiding these foods can significantly reduce consumption of sodium. However, while people wish to have healthier diets, they do not want to sacrifice the foods they love. One replacement of table salt that has become very popular is sea salt. While they both contain similar amounts of sodium per gram, sea salt has a larger, coarser grain that makes the brain perceive a saltier taste. This allows for the ability to use less salt in the product without making a change to the product taste. To even further increase the sodium reducing ability, Sun Harvest Salt, LLC, our sea salt provider, has developed a full range of patented table sea salts from 25% less sodium to 45% less sodium.
When reducing sodium, there are a couple different ways to introduce these modified products. Celebrating the reduced sodium can be an effective marketing tool. Many consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the detrimental health effects of sodium and are actively seeking products that limit their intake. Because of this, products that claim reduced sodium can have a significant advantage over competitors.
Taste is still the most important aspect of food for consumers, so attempting to appeal to healthier products is only effective as long as it does not sacrifice taste. Due to sea salt’s ability to closely replicate the flavor of table salt, some of the most iconic products like McDonald’s fries, Oreos and Hamburger Helper have already switched away from table salt to sea salt to meet customer demand for a healthier diet that better controls sodium intake. While there is still a long way to go to accomplish this societal health goal, there is certainly hope of “seaing” a future with less sodium.
[i] Sodium in Canada. (2012, August 06). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/sodium/index-eng.php
[ii] Salt reduction. (2016, June). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs393/en
[iii] Newson, R., Elmadfa, I., Biro, G., Cheng, Y., Prakash, V., Rust, P., . . . Feunekes, G. (2013). Barriers for progress in salt reduction in the general population. An international study. Appetite, 71, 22-31. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2013.07.003
[iv] Salt reduction. (2016, June). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs393/en
[v]Beeren, C. (2011, January 1). Salt reduction: Food manufacturers continue to reduce sodium content by tactics ranging from stepwise reduction to salt replacers. Consumers’ perception of salt plays a crucial role. Prepared Foods