Bakers Journal

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Survey says consumers unaware of salt intake


August 7, 2013
By Bakers Journal

Aug. 7, 2013, Netherlands – Consumers are still confused about the amount of salt they have each day, and are uncertain about recommended daily intakes, according to a consumer perception survey by DSM.

This survey is the first in a series to come that will explore perceptions of savoury tastes in countries such as the United States, Brazil, China, Poland, and Nigeria. In total, there were about 5,000 participants with about half of the urban consumers saying they eat less than five grams of salt per day. Respondents from the U.S. believe they eat the largest amount of salt with more than 61 per cent believing they consume 10 or more grams a day, which is twice the recommended daily amount. Nigerian consumers think they eat the lowest amount with almost 65 per cent reporting that they eat less than five grams per 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 six to 18 grams of salt every day. In the U.S., research presented at the American Society of Nutrition Experimental Biology Conference in Boston indicated that Americans’ sodium intake increased by 63mg per day every two years from 2001 to 2010. This amounted to a 7.9 per cent increase over that time.

The DSM perception survey also revealed that 80 per cent of people said they would be willing to lose some of the flavour 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 per cent 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, 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 or 34 per cent of shoppers would avoid their favourite foods in order to eat healthier.

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Dennis Rijnders, business manager of savoury ingredients yeast extracts at DSM Food Specialties commented in a press release: “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 savoury ingredient industry can help make this possible with benefits to consumers, food producers and society at large.”

For more information, visit www.dsm.com.