As consumers learn more about the link between high sodium intake and high blood pressure, the interest in reduced-sodium products will continue. Here are some tidbits of news from the food industry.
Put Down Your Salt Shakers, Columbia!
Food manufacturers have been encouraged to quietly reduce salt amounts from chips, dips, frozen dinners and other packaged foods. Panelists at a School of Public Health (SPH) symposium last year said it might be the only way to cut the amount used in the ready-to-eat foods that are so popular. Research shows that our high salt intake is a leading cause of high blood pressure. School of Public Health Dean Barry Bloom said, “Eighty to 90 percent of cardiovascular disease can be prevented with what we already know and perhaps 50 percent of cancers. A stealth approach seems to be the only way to tackle the problem. We get salt from unexpected sources. We add in in cooking or at the table. This makes up about 15 percent of the salt in the average diet. Most of our salt comes from processed food, ready-to-eat food and restaurant foods -close to 75 percent. “It is out of our control and out of out knowledge,” remarked one panelist. Most people eat 50 to 60 percent more than the recommended daily amount of 2400 mg a day.The salt industry is the best advocate for its own product and would present an alternate case, which would just stir up the pot. Some food manufacturers say, “flavor rules” and although they want healthier products, but if it doesn’t sell, it won’t last.
Amplify Salt Replacement
Sodium reduction doesn’t have to mean less flavor. One of the problems with processed foods is the high sodium content. Con Agra Foods, the third largest supplier of industrial seasonings in the U.S., has a division, Spicetec, that has been developing the technology for salt flavor enhancement. Amplify ™ is a new product that increases salty taste perception, boosts overall flavor, and reduces the sodium in commercially processed foods. Instead of simply trying to mask the bitterness of potassium chloride, Ampilfy is based on peptide and amino acid technology. Amplify is a custom solution that can work for many food processors who produce soups, frozen pizzas, pot pies, salty snacks, hand-held sandwiches meat and poultry entrees and more.
Um Um Good!
Campbell Soup has announced that it will be reformulating some existing soup flavors and decreasing the sodium. It will rely on all natural sea salt and special blending/flavoring techniques to bring down the sodium content by 25 percent while maintaining good taste. This will affect one-third of soup volume in the U.S.
Three of Campbells’ top-selling brands will have lower-sodium versions: Chicken Noodle, Tomato and Cream of Mushroom. At least 12 of its condensed soups will be re-formulated for less salt. There will be four new varieties of Campbell’s Chunky Health Request ready-to-serve soups, with up to 45 percent less sodium than the regular soups. Next year, Campbell’s V8 juices will also go from the current 590 milligrams of salt per eight-ounce serving to 480.
Trader Joe’s Opening Two Stores in Atlanta
Trader Joe’s is moving closer to Columbia, folks! These places resemble a food Disneyland for grown ups. The company has than 2,000 private-label food products in its stores, which are fairly inexpensive. I shopped here when I lived in California; now I shop there when I visit the Washington DC area. Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s, has 250 stores in 19 states that are concentrated in the Northwest and West. It has leased two stores in Midtown and Sandy Springs, Ga. According to an Atlanta Business Chronicle article on www.bizjournals.com, this will be the first of up to a dozen locations the specialty food retailer may open in metro Atlanta.The move into the proposed 12,000-square-foot stores at Midtown Promenade shopping center and Sandy Springs Plaza is the farthest south for the store. Until only recently the company had stores as far south as Newport News, Va. According to the article, the company is also negotiating leases on two other stores, in Buckhead and East Cobb, and may consider installing a total of 10 to 12 stores in metro Atlanta.New York City was abuzz in January when they announced it was opening a store at Union Square, its first urban site in that state, in early spring.
High Salt Diet Reduces Bone Density in Girls
Researchers say white adolescent and African-American girls assimilate salt and calcium differently, esplaining why races have different rates of high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Scientists at Purdue University in the US suggest Caucasian girls lose more calcium in their urine than African-American girls. But both races lose calcium at an accelerated rate when they consume a high-salt diet. According to the Purdue researchers, one out of four Caucasians will be diagnosed with osteoporosis, a bone-loss disease that costs Americans $14 billion a year in health care. “Sodium causes water retention, which leads to high blood pressure, and that could be related to the high prevalence of hypertension in adult blacks,” adds Connie Weaver, head of Purdue’s department of foods and nutrition. Propelled by these health implications, consumer and healthcare groups in Europe are cracking down on salt consumption, including pushing food manufacturers to slash salt in food recipes. “Salt intake affects how the body uses calcium at a critical time of bone development in young girls, but in whites more than in blacks,” concludes Weaver from the findings.
The researchers suggest adolescent girls need to consume the equivalent of four cups of milk a day to maximise the time when their bodies can develop peak bone mass. Adolescent girls keep 25 per cent of the net calcium they consume, but by the time they are young women, it drops to 5 per cent. Full findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition