05 Aug The challenge of salt reduction
Consumers are seeking healthy food, and this often includes salt reduced products to limit the risks of diseases, mainly cardiovascular. With the consumers’ demand increasing and with newly introduced regulations, salt reduction has become a big challenge. How to find alternatives without compromising on taste ?
What is salt?
What we commonly call “salt” refers to table salt, composed of sodium (40%) and chlorine (60%). Salt provides about 90% of the sodium needs in the human diet1. Sodium is critical for the human body to function and has many functionalities such as: enabling transmission of nerve impulses, playing a role in osmotic regulation, retaining water in the body and helping in the muscle contraction process.
Official recommendations and commitments of many stakeholders
The official recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO)2 states that the daily salt intake should be around 5g for an adult, so the equivalent of a teaspoon. The actual daily average per person lies between 9g and 12g, almost the double! An excessive sodium consumption can increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension. It is estimated that 2.5 million lives could be saved each year by decreasing salt consumption to the recommended level.
Consumers have become aware of this, and 42% consider salt or sodium to be an ingredient with negative impacts on their health3. The recommendations put in place by the WHO aim to reduce salt consumption by 30% by 20504. Stakeholders have committed to making a difference, and there are more than 75 salt reduction strategies around the world.
1He and al., Reducing salt intake to prevent hypertension and cardiovascular disease, 2012
2World Health Organization, Key facts on salt reduction, 2016
3Global data, Ingredient insights: salt reduction, July 2018
4K. Trieu and al., Adapted from salt reduction initiatives around the world–a systematic review of progress towards the global target, 2015