The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

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Government Sodium Initiative

Government Sodium Initiative

Shoppers and Trends

December 30, 2007

Government Sodium Initiative
Dear Phil,
What is your prediction for whether or not the government will really be able to impact manufacturers to reduce the sodium impact of products? Any insights on whether or not this will be as effective as other initiatives such as those on trans fats? Any food categories that you see will be the first impacted?  
Thanks, Mary
Hi Mary,
Sodium reduction in our foods will be more of a universal move by food companies to cut back (just as we did with trans fat) rather than one by government regulation.
The important thing to remember is that while the sodium issue has been discussed for years, it’s getting more attention now in the context of all the baby boomers approaching 65 in 2010. The incidence of high blood pressure among boomers actually doubled as boomers went from their 40s to their 50s. The one possible connection that doctors point to? Sodium intake increases average levels of blood pressure.
As far as which categories will get their “nutritional makeovers” first, I have to predict it will be the mainstream and major brands of processed foods (frozen, cereals, cookies and crackers). These consumer packaged goods companies are the ones who typically lead the pack when these types of changes and innovations occur; and as history showed, they were also the first to reformulate to rid our foods of trans fats.
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