Home Men Health Sodium showdown: How the food service industry battles salt to make America healthier

Sodium showdown: How the food service industry battles salt to make America healthier

Sodium showdown: How the food service industry battles salt to make America healthier

In a recent study published within the journal Advances in Nutrition, researchers in the US explored the challenges and techniques facing the food service industry in reducing sodium content.

Most Americans eat way more sodium than is healthy, increasing their risk of hypertension and heart disease. About 55% of the food budget is spent on foods prepared and consumed away from home (FAFH). Restaurants, offices, college campuses, military bases, and senior centers are just a few places where these meals are served. Attempts to lower sodium levels in prepared and sold foods have met several challenges. Despite these obstacles, many effective methods have been used to cut back sodium content in FAFH.

Perspective: Challenges and Strategies to Reduce the Sodium Content of Foods by the Food Service Industry. Image Credit: Evan Lorne / Shutterstock

Challenges in sodium reduction in foods

A survey of just about 6,122 US adults found that while 52% of respondents preferred low sodium/salt menu selections when dining out, only 6% actually asked for them. Customers select a restaurant most frequently for the deliciousness of the cuisine, whereas just 29% select a restaurant for its healthfulness. Because it has the reverse effect of accelerating consumer demand, food service businesses rarely promote “healthy” or “reduced sodium” decisions. For this reason, businesses incessantly lower the sodium level of their products without consumer awareness. In consequence, employees within the food service industry are under pressure to organize and serve items with less sodium.

Large food service operations can have trouble finding enough low-sodium food to fulfill demand. Bread and bread products are a standard FAFH because people eat them with all items starting from burgers and chicken sandwiches to pizza and breakfast sandwiches, and so they’re also delicious when eaten alone. The outcomes of a variety of studies show that a discount within the sodium content could possibly be as much as without considerably affecting consumer acceptability. Subsequently, this feasible adjustment would significantly contribute to lowering sodium intake. Manufacturers could also be persuaded to cut back sodium in bread goods in response to such data and requests from food service operators for such items.

Methods for lowering sodium content in meals

Substitute with alternatives

Food service businesses will help lower the quantity of sodium of their customers’ diets by modifying and creating latest dishes that incorporate flavor enhancers. Sodium-replacement ingredient testing has been the topic of in depth study. One strategy for developing a sodium substitute involves altering the crystal structure of the sodium molecule to supply a salt crystal that’s each larger and coarser.

Some examples of taste enhancers are glutamates, herbs and spices, amino acids/peptides, and umami substances. Bread, sauces, condiments, meats, savory snacks, and mixed dishes can all likely have their salt content reduced with the assistance of flavor enhancers.

Instruct kitchen staff on find out how to make low-sodium dishes

One tactic for making lower-sodium menus is to show and educate the culinary staff utilized by food service establishments to create such dishes. The reduction of salt in meals has been aided by collaborations between food service businesses and culinary schools. Inside 4 years of the beginning of this partnership, a complete of 12% of sodium had been faraway from the menus of the US member corporations. Salt reduction instruction for chefs has also been shown to be effective in countries outside the US.

Promotion and display of low-sodium foods

Changing the built environment to raised facilitate the acquisition of lower sodium foods by improving their availability, location, marketing, and promotion may enhance sales. It has been found that 48% of consumers substitute snacks for meals at the least three to 4 times per week, with health concerns playing a job within the decision-making process for 50% of those occasions. Mini-meals based on nutrient-dense, low-sodium snacks are an amazing option for a lot of non-retail situations.


The study findings showed that sodium reduction and the supply of lower-sodium options could be difficult for food service providers as a consequence of restrictions and real-world issues. Maintaining sales and enhancing population health must be complementary goals. It’s crucial to think about the next aspects when working with food service providers to lower sodium levels: ingredient availability; skilled culinary training; consumer preference; flavor; food safety; and general concerns about costs.

The restaurant and catering sectors have made strides in lowering the sodium level of their offerings. The solutions offered have the flexibility to affect the FAFH salt concentration across food service venues and, by extension, the American eating regimen and cardiovascular risk, although there continues to be much space for improvement.


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