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Attitudes Toward Sodium - US - February 2012

It’s no secret that demand for better-for-you (BFY) snacks, prepared foods and beverages is on the rise. Companies around the globe are reformulating old products and bringing new ones to market to satisfy changing consumer preferences. While low and reduced-calorie products are at the forefront of this shift, concerns about excessive sodium intake have been growing in the U.S. and this is driving CPG firms, as well as restaurant chains, to bring more low sodium products to market. Moreover, a variety of factors indicate that demand for low sodium foods will continue to grow in 2012 and beyond.

In order to help companies come to a clearer understanding of sodium-related trends and how to capitalize on them, Mintel has produced this report that addresses the following questions:

  • How are macro-level demographic shifts in the U.S. impacting demand for reduced sodium foods and how are they likely to influence the market in the years to come?
  • What are companies doing to address growing concern about sodium intake and capitalize on demand for reduced sodium options?
  • What type of reduced sodium packaged foods did companies bring to market in 2010 and 2011?
  • Compared to the influence of calorie counts, sugar and fat content, how much do sodium levels influence consumer decision-making?
  • To what degree do consumers consult the Nutrition Facts Panel and ingredient lists to determine whether the foods they are thinking about buying have too much sodium?
  • To what degree are Americans working to limit sodium intake when dining at home and at restaurants?
  • To what degree do concerns about taste influence perceptions of low sodium products?
  • Which segments of the population are most likely to use reduced sodium products?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                    • Companies around the nation continue reducing sodium
                      • Dieting and demographic shift drive demand for low-sodium SKUs
                        • More than 300 new products introduced in 2011
                          • Most consumers lack knowledge about sodium
                            • Lack of exercise and excess fat often associated with poor health
                              • Consumers more likely to limit intake at home
                                • Most have used and would use low-sodium foods again
                                  • Most believe everyone needs some salt
                                  • Insights and Opportunities

                                    • Educate customers about sodium reduction initiatives
                                      • FOP and retail labeling systems could help to drive sales of low sodium
                                        • Consider developing websites and tools to educate consumers
                                          • Figure 1: Lowsodiumblog.com, February 2012
                                          • Figure 2: Sodium 101 iPhone app, February 2012
                                        • Consider using gourmet salts to differentiate and add value
                                          • Figure 3: Wendy’s natural cut french fries with sea salt, February 2012
                                      • Inspire Insights

                                          • Trend: A Simple Balance for Health
                                            • Trend: Fauxthenticity
                                            • Market Drivers

                                              • Key points
                                                • Most Americans “watching” their diet
                                                  • Figure 4: Watching diet and reasons for doing so, by gender, October 2009–December 2010
                                                • Most consume “too much” salt
                                                  • Rapidly aging population drives demand for reduced sodium
                                                    • Figure 5: Population, by age, 2006-16
                                                  • Growth of black segment will drive demand for low sodium
                                                    • Figure 6: Population, by race and Hispanic origin, 2006-16
                                                • Sodium Reduction Initiatives

                                                  • Key points
                                                    • Voluntary efforts and FDA dialogue with brands will drive reduction
                                                      • Increased participation in the NSRI will drive reduction
                                                          • Figure 7: NSRI bakery and cereal/grain products sodium reduction targets, 2012 and 2014
                                                        • Let’s Move and “Assault on Sodium” will drive down use among kids
                                                          • Company commitments mean more options coming online
                                                            • Walmart
                                                              • Frito-Lay also leading the way
                                                                • Other CPG and QSR firms join the efforts
                                                                • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Number of new product introductions peaked in 2010
                                                                      • Figure 8: The 30 most common claims associated with food/beverage launches, 2006-11
                                                                    • Companies continue to launch low-sodium SKUs across categories
                                                                      • Figure 9: Products launched with low/no/reduced sodium, by subcategory, 2006-11
                                                                    • Private label accounts for more than one fifth of all new low-sodium CPGs in 2011
                                                                      • Figure 10: Share of products launched with low/no/reduced sodium claim, by branded vs. private label, 2006-11*
                                                                    • Many products have natural positioning
                                                                      • Many low-sodium products positioned as quasi-gourmet
                                                                        • Some use low sodium positioning to maximize appeal of children’s food
                                                                          • Private label SKUs often resemble branded options
                                                                          • Marketing Strategies

                                                                            • Many taking a silent approach as they reformulate products
                                                                              • Television ads offer simple messaging
                                                                                • Campbell’s Soup
                                                                                  • Figure 11: Campbell’s Soup television ad, 2011
                                                                                • Progresso Soup
                                                                                  • Figure 12: Progresso Soup television ad, 2011
                                                                                • Orville Redenbacher
                                                                                  • Figure 13: Orville Redenbacher television ad, 2011
                                                                                • Using websites to offer low-sodium recipes and describe SKUs
                                                                                  • Figure 14: Kraftrecipes.com low-sodium recipes, February 2012
                                                                                  • Figure 15: Campbellsoup.com Healthy Request Soups, February 2012
                                                                              • Use of NFP and Ingredient List

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Many still lack knowledge about sodium
                                                                                    • More than four in 10 always or usually look for salt info when shopping
                                                                                      • Figure 16: Seeking out information on-pack, November 2011
                                                                                    • Women more likely to always seek sodium info when shopping
                                                                                      • Figure 17: Seeking out information on-pack, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                    • Monitoring behavior more common among those aged 55+
                                                                                      • Figure 18: Seeking out salt information on-pack, by age, November 2011
                                                                                    • Monitoring behavior varies little between income segments
                                                                                      • Figure 19: Seeking out information on-pack, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                  • Top Three Contributors to Poor Health

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Weight gain contributors closely associated with poor health
                                                                                        • Figure 20: Top three contributors to poor health, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                      • Seniors more likely to recognize potential risk of excessive sodium
                                                                                        • Figure 21: Top three contributors to poor health, by age, November 2011
                                                                                      • Affluents more likely to associate processed foods with poor health
                                                                                        • Figure 22: Top three contributors to poor health, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                    • Sodium Limiting Behavior

                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                        • Consumers more likely to limit intake at home than at restaurants
                                                                                          • Figure 23: Limiting sodium at home and at restaurants, November 2011
                                                                                        • About half of those aged 55+ always limit when at home
                                                                                          • Figure 24: Limiting sodium at home, by age, November 2011
                                                                                        • Women more likely to limit salt when cooking
                                                                                          • Figure 25: Steps taken to limit sodium at home, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                        • 18-24s less likely than others to limit salt at home
                                                                                          • Figure 26: Steps taken to limit sodium at home, by age, November 2011
                                                                                        • Most aged 55+ limit when visiting restaurants
                                                                                          • Figure 27: Limiting sodium at restaurant, by age, November 2011
                                                                                      • Use of and Interest in Trying Alternatives

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Most have tried low-sodium products and would use them again
                                                                                            • Figure 28: Use of/interest in trying salt/sodium foods, flavored with non-sodium salt alternatives, products flavored with other (non-salt) spices, November 2011
                                                                                          • Women more likely to use low-sodium products
                                                                                            • Figure 29: Use of/interest in trying salt/sodium foods, flavored with non-sodium salt alternatives, products flavored with other (non-salt) spices, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                          • Target 55+ with low-sodium CPGs and salt alternatives
                                                                                            • Figure 30: Use of/interest in trying salt/sodium foods, flavored with non-sodium salt alternatives, products flavored with other (non-salt) spices by age, November 2011
                                                                                          • Upper-income consumers somewhat more likely to use low sodium
                                                                                            • Figure 31: Use of/interest in trying salt/sodium foods, flavored with a non-sodium salt alternatives, products flavored with other (non-salt) spices, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                        • Sodium Disclosure and Limitations

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Most think manufacturers should take the lead
                                                                                              • Figure 32: Responsible for requiring sodium disclosure and for imposing sodium restrictions, November 2011
                                                                                            • Women more likely to hold manufacturers accountable for disclosure
                                                                                              • Figure 33: Responsible for requiring sodium disclosure, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                            • 45+ segment more likely to feel manufacturers are responsible for disclosure
                                                                                              • Figure 34: Responsible for requiring sodium disclosure, by age, November 2011
                                                                                            • Women more likely to feel manufacturers should impose restrictions
                                                                                              • Figure 35: Responsible for restricting/limiting sodium content, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                            • Most aged 65+ think manufacturers should be responsible for imposing restrictions
                                                                                              • Figure 36: Responsible for restricting/limiting sodium content, by age, November 2011
                                                                                          • Attitudes toward Sodium

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Most understand that humans need salt
                                                                                                • Figure 37: Attitudes toward sodium, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                              • Most adults limit intake but many have low sodium taste concerns
                                                                                                • Figure 38: Attitudes toward sodium, by age, November 2011
                                                                                              • Target affluents with moderate sodium, gourmet products
                                                                                                • Figure 39: Attitudes toward sodium, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                              • Northeast residents somewhat more likely to have sodium concerns
                                                                                                • Figure 40: Attitudes toward sodium, by region, November 2011
                                                                                            • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                • Blacks much more likely to associate excessive salt with poor health
                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Top three contributors to poor health, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2011
                                                                                                • Blacks much more likely to limit consumption at home and at restaurants
                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Limiting sodium at home and at restaurants, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2011
                                                                                                • Sodium education could maximize appeal among blacks and Asians
                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Responsible for requiring sodium disclosure and for imposing restrictions, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2011
                                                                                              • A Closer Look at Sodium Limiters

                                                                                                  • Overview of CHAID Analysis
                                                                                                    • Retailers well-positioned to appeal to sodium limiters
                                                                                                        • Figure 44: CHAID analysis of sodium limiters, November 2011
                                                                                                      • Understanding the sodium limiting consumer
                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Demographic profile of sodium limiters v. non-limiters, November 2011
                                                                                                      • Limiters often avoid excessive sugar as well
                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Top three contributors to poor health, by sodium limiters v. non-limiters, November 2011
                                                                                                      • Limiters more likely to put responsibility on manufacturers as well as government and retailers
                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Responsible for requiring sodium disclosure and for imposing restrictions, by sodium limiters v. non-limiters, November 2011
                                                                                                      • Limiters prefer specialty salts
                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Attitudes toward sodium by sodium limiters v. non-limiters, November 2011
                                                                                                    • Custom Consumer Groups: Gender and Age

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Mature women most likely to seek sodium information
                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Seeking out salt information on-pack, by gender and age, November 2011
                                                                                                          • Men more likely than women to see sodium as a primary concern
                                                                                                              • Figure 50: Top three contributors to poor health, by gender and age, November 2011
                                                                                                            • Target women with low-sodium salt alternatives
                                                                                                                • Figure 51: Steps taken to limit sodium at home, by gender and age, November 2011
                                                                                                              • Sodium attitudes among both men and women shift with age
                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Attitudes toward sodium, by gender and age, November 2011
                                                                                                              • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Seeking out information on-pack, by age, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Seeking out salt information on-pack, by gender, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Seeking out salt information on-pack, by household income, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Limiting sodium at home, by region, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Limiting sodium at a restaurant, by region, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Attitudes toward sodium, by race/Hispanic origin, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Limiting sodium at home, by those who do and do not limit sodium at restaurants, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Limiting sodium at restaurants, by those who do and do not limit sodium at home, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: Seeking out salt information on-pack, by sodium limiters v. non-limiters, November 2011
                                                                                                                  • Figure 62: Responsible for requiring sodium disclosure and for imposing restrictions, gender and age, November 2011
                                                                                                              • Appendix: Trade Associations and Partnerships

                                                                                                                Companies Covered

                                                                                                                • Burger King Corporation
                                                                                                                • Butterball, LLC
                                                                                                                • Campbell Soup Company
                                                                                                                • ConAgra Foods, Inc
                                                                                                                • Crate & Barrel
                                                                                                                • Food and Drug Administration
                                                                                                                • FreshDirect Inc
                                                                                                                • Frito-Lay, Inc
                                                                                                                • General Mills Inc
                                                                                                                • Gerber Products Company
                                                                                                                • Goya Foods, Inc.
                                                                                                                • HJ Heinz Company
                                                                                                                • Kraft Foods Inc. (U.S.A.)
                                                                                                                • LiDestri Foods, Inc.
                                                                                                                • Mars Incorporated
                                                                                                                • McCain Foods Limited
                                                                                                                • McDonald's U.S.A.
                                                                                                                • Nature's Path Foods Inc
                                                                                                                • PepsiCo Inc
                                                                                                                • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                • Subway
                                                                                                                • Taco Bell Corp.
                                                                                                                • The Hain Celestial Group, Inc.
                                                                                                                • The Wendy's Company
                                                                                                                • Trader Joe's Company Inc
                                                                                                                • Unilever USA
                                                                                                                • Walmart Stores (USA)
                                                                                                                • Winn-Dixie Stores

                                                                                                                Attitudes Toward Sodium - US - February 2012

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