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50% of urban consumers believe they eat less than 5 grams of salt per day

Delft, NL, 14 Jul 2013 08:00 CEST

Global life sciences company DSM today published results of a consumer perception survey revealing that urban consumers around the world continue to be confused about the amount of salt they consume and are uncertain about recommended maximum daily intakes. The findings are included in the first of a series of global insight reports set to be published by DSM to explore people’s perceptions of savory tastes in countries as diverse as US, Brazil, China, Poland and Nigeria.
Bowl of healthy oriental food

The survey results from 5000 participants show that about half of urban consumers believe they eat less than 5 grams of salt a day. Respondents from the US believe they eat the largest amount of salt with more than 61% believing they consume 10 or more grams a day – twice the recommended daily amount. Nigerian consumers think they eat the lowest amount with almost 65% reporting that they eat less than 5 grams a day. Actual salt consumption studies around the world, however, show that people are likely to consume as much as three times the recommended daily amount. A 2012 report released by the European Commission revealed that men and women in Europe generally consume anywhere from 6 to 18 grams of salt daily.1 In the US, research presented at the American Society of Nutrition Experimental Biology Conference in Boston indicated that, despite manufacturers’ best efforts, Americans’ sodium intake increased by 63 mg a day every two years from 2001 to 2010, which amounted to a 7.9% increase over that time.2

The DSM perception survey revealed furthermore that 80% of people said they would be willing to lose some of the flavor in foods that they typically prepare and eat if they knew that it would improve their health. Those living in China are most willing to make this change, while Americans are least willing. In spite of this, only 25% cited healthiness as a reason to buy a processed or pre-prepared food again — taste, convenience and price were all more likely to drive purchases. This supports previous research suggesting that, in spite of good intentions, consumers are not likely to purchase products that are perceived to have less taste. A 2009 report by HealthFocus International found that just one-in-three (34%) of shoppers would avoid their favorite foods in order to eat more healthily.3

Dennis Rijnders, Business Manager Savory Ingredients Yeast Extracts at DSM Food Specialties commented: “The survey results confirm that we cannot assume that consumers can make accurate judgments about the amount of salt in foods they consume. Taste, convenience and price are more likely to be given as reasons to purchase foods again. Coupling great taste with health benefits such as reduced sodium is the best way forward in driving repeat purchases. The savory ingredient industry can help make this possible with benefits to consumers, food producers and society at large.”

Earlier this year in March during Salt Awareness Week, DSM introduced its salt reduction toolbox of natural yeast extracts and process flavors. The toolbox offers ingredients that offer great taste, that are economical in use for food manufacturers and offer the health benefit of up to 50% reduced sodium without losing taste or mouthfeel.

1 Implementation of the EU Salt Reduction Framework Results of Member States survey, Publications Office of the European Union, 2012
2 “Food manufacturers might have cut out 'hundreds of tons' of salt, but US sodium intakes have continued to rise steadily, reveals new study”, Elaine Watson, 22 April 2013
3 A National Study of Public Attitudes and Actions Toward Shopping and Eating, The 2009 HealthFocus® Trend Report, Published by: HealthFocus International®