Don’t Pass the Salt: Some Americans Cutting Back as FDA Suggests New Sodium Guidance

Don’t Pass the Salt: Some Americans Cutting Back as FDA Suggests New Sodium Guidance

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Americans consume an average of 3,400 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day. In an effort to make consumers aware of the health risks associated with current consumption trends, the FDA recently issued sodium reduction targets for the U.S. food industry. The draft guidelines are intended to help Americans gradually reduce sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day. For many Americans this may mean cutting out that salt-laden savory mid-afternoon snack.

While the FDA reports that Americans consume almost 50% more sodium than most experts recommend, some consumers are sodium conscious and shifting toward products without salt (which is about 40% sodium) and then adding just the right amount themselves. In fact, in the year ended April 30, 2016, sales of products with sodium claims (no salt, low salt/sodium, reduced salt, no added salt) increased almost 3% to more than $35.5 billion.

Of the products with sodium claims, low salt/sodium products make up the majority of sales, accounting for 72% of sales. No salt/sodium products, which experienced the most sales growth over the past year, come in a distant second making up 23% of sales. Sales of no salt/sodium added and reduced salt products declined over the past year, decreasing 3.7% and 3.6%, respectively.

Health conscious trends aside, salt still sells. In fact, the salt bought in retail saw a 7.7% spike in sales over the last year. Specialty salt, which includes sea salt and kosher salt, saw double the sales growth of the overall salt category, rising 15.4%.