ConAgra Commits to Take the Salt out of American Diets
The latest HealthFocus Trend Report noted that both interest in and use of lower salt options among primary grocery shoppers has increased dramatically over the past four years. In 2004, 19 percent of shoppers indicated they used low-sodium products once a week or more, compared to 41 percent using low-sodium products once a week or more in 2008.
ConAgra Foods’ chefs and scientists have worked since 2006 to reduce salt in various brands, such as Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn and Chef Boyardee pasta. To date, this work has resulted in 2 million fewer pounds of salt per year in the domestic food supply.
Over the past few years, several respected public health authorities, including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and the American Heart Association, have solidified their position on the importance of reducing sodium intake. Research released earlier this year by two different groups1 calculated the potential health and economic benefits of sodium reduction to the American public. Based upon those estimates it is projected that, if the food industry were to follow ConAgra Foods’ lead and reduce salt by 20 percent across product portfolios, U.S. medical costs might be reduced by as much as $4 billion to $10 billion annually.
The scope of the ConAgra Foods’ salt reduction is broad and diverse, including as many as 20 brands, 160 product varieties (formulas), and all temperature categories in the supermarket.
The company will track its work in sodium reduction and make it publicly available each year through the ConAgra Foods Corporate Social Responsibility report, published at www.conagrafoods.com.
You can read about other food processors' assault on salt in our feature article: Demonizing Salt: America's Assault on Salt