Hurdles to Health: Prospects for the Food Industry in Replacing Sodium Chloride

Strategy Briefing

About This Report

Jul 2013

Associations between high sodium intake and raised blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular disease, are accepted. Sodium reduction provides challenges in terms of taste, but governments, retailers & companies are driving efforts to reduce salt intake. Direct or indirect marketing options exist, either by labelling health benefits or by gradually reformulating to maintain taste without alerting consumers. Significant opportunities now exist for companies to reduce sodium using new ingredients.

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Hurdles to Health: Prospects for the Food Industry in Replacing Sodium Chloride

Low consumer awareness/ motivation to reduce sodium

Consumers are aware of salt intake issues, but place greater emphasis on avoiding sugar and fat. Most consumers can reduce salt added in cooking/at the table, but have little understanding of how much salt they consume in packaged food. Changes to food labelling may highlight this issue. A gap in awareness among consumers aged 15-34 years exists, which could be targeted, as well as marketing towards parents with young children.

Clear communication is essential

Manufacturers communicating with trade associations/government bodies to reformulate for reduced sodium must have clear, open dialogue to attain success and effort recognition, and should reformulate gradually. Always, taste should be key in the marketing mix.

Sodium reduction is a global and a local issue

Initiatives for reducing sodium depend on whether governments are involved. Reduced sodium products are growing quickly in Brazil, the Netherlands, Spain and Argentina, while the UK and the US are following a different approach. Since 2007, Chinese and Indian sodium consumption volumes have increased to a greater extent than in any other countries, along with their increased packaged food consumption.

Label colour may deter consumers

Products marketed as “reduced in sodium” are not widespread, and available mainly in larger outlets, so consumer education may be important. Unusually coloured labels, eg blue, may prevent low sodium products being purchased if consumers in a hurry are not already confident that the taste is maintained in these product options.

Opportunities are both government and industry led

Between countries, identical product may be more or less salty, due to local taste preferences and also government activity. Most sodium is present in bakery, but Asia Pacific consumes it within sauces and condiments. Opportunities exist for companies to develop products in one country and then introduce them in another, but careful decisions should be made in marketing lower sodium products, for example, introducing line extensions or unobtrusive reformulations.

What this report includes

  • Top-level strategic analysis of how major consumer trends will influence global markets
  • Consumer insight
  • Impact across all relevant consumer markets
  • Unique graphics and case studies
  • Key market snapshots
  • Accompanying presentation to synthesise main findings

Why buy this report

  • Identify factors driving change now and in the future
  • Understand motivation
  • Forward-looking outlook
  • Briefings and presentation should provoke lively discussion at senior level
  • Take a step back from micro trends
  • Get up to date estimates and comment

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Sodium Chloride and Packaged Food

Sodium chloride: An “original” food ingredient
Packaged food: An important primary c onsumer of sodium
Death from circulatory disease partially reduced by health spending
High prevalence of raised blood pressure in developing nations

Market Reduction Trends

Consumers will pay for health if they see its value
Global health and wellness packaged food expands in 2012
Fastest growing markets: Reduced salt lines growing in volume
Fastest growing markets: Rising retail value for reduced salt foods
UK loses product dominance as Netherlands and Spain innovate
Spain gaining ground in low sodium canned/preserved foods
UK Responsibility Deal sodium strategy: Gradually cutting intake
UK sodium reduction: Progress so far
UK traffic light food labelling system: Clarity of information
Successful reductions in UK bread
US National Salt Reduction Initiative: How low can they go?
I n the US, reduced salt soup has a prominent role

Consumer Perceptions

Reduced salt for “other people”: No high rating for improving health
How concerned are consumers about sodium intake?
Rising awareness with age; but even young Brazilians interested
What do younger consumers avoid? Sodium viewed as acceptable
Taste exploration governs development: A lesser studied sense
Taste interactions: Impact of reducing sodium in processed food
Complications in reducing sodium: “Taste” always trumps “health”

How Are Companies Reducing Salt?

Strategy toolkit: How are companies reducing sodium?
Sodium replacement ingredients struggle on vital functions
Brazil consumes more alternative flavours in “salty” products
PepsiCo: Maintaining taste with proprietary salt crystal technology
Heinz: Sodium reduction by reformulation over time
Private label has lion’s share in lower salt spreadable oils and fats

Potential marketing opportunities

Circulatory-related deaths lead in China
Targeting the world’s largest brands for sodium reduction
Sauces’ popularity in China: Multiple chances to reduce sodium
Strong prospects for market education for reduced salt snacks
Marketing options: Possibilities for sodium reduction in food
Flavour without salt is possible : Innovations for low sodium diets

Conclusion

Conclusions and key developments

Report Definitions

Data parameters and report definitions