Campbell soups to be made with lower sodium sea salt

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Salt, Campbell soup company, Sodium

The leading global soup firm this week announced that it is to
slash salt content in its products by up to 45 percent, a move that
underlines continued industry efforts to attract consumers with a
wider variety of 'healthy' product options.

Campbell Soup Company said it has achieved the sodium reduction by reformulating its products with an all-natural lower-sodium sea salt.

The company said it has an exclusive agreement with the supplier of the salt, which achieves its lower sodium levels through a particular evaporation and crystallization process.

"To our knowledge, this is the first time a natural lower-sodium sea salt is being used to reduce sodium levels in food products,"​ said Campbell's manager of brand communications Juli Mandel Sloves.

Indeed, this could prove to be a significant step in salt reduction efforts, as the development of salt substitutes that actually taste good continues to raise considerable obstacles for the industry. Receptors inside the human tongue require the shape and size of the sodium ion in order to register a salty taste.

The bottom line for manufacturers is that taste remains a dominant concern in determining consumer preference, and poor salt imitations have led to a number of discontinued product lines. It seems that while consumer awareness of excessive salt consumption has never been higher, American palates still demand salt.

But Campbell's discovery of the sea salt variety did not come without its challenges.

"We had to find ways to work on our flavor formulations in order to leverage the benefit of the lower sodium sea salt and achieve our goal of not compromising taste,"​ said Sloves.

She added however that other forms of sea salt tend to have a bitter taste, something that did not cause many problems with the form of salt used by Campbell.

The company has reformulated a number of its products and introduced new items with lower sodium content. It has also reduced the salt in its V8 vegetable juice product to 480mg per serving, the required level set by the FDA for foods to qualify as 'healthy.'

The new and reformulated products, totaling one third of Campbell's soup volume in the US, are due to hit the market in August.

The move, which is likely to give Campbell an advantage over competing products, is not the end of the line for the company.

"This has been a tremendous challenge and a significant step for us but we are not resting here. We have other sodium reduction formulations that we are exploring in order to reach our ultimate goal, which is to get more of our soups to the 480mg level,"​ Sloves told FoodNavigator-USA.com.

Indeed, there is no question that salt consumption in the American diet needs to be reduced. One in three Americans regularly consumes more salt than is recommended, and most of this is in processed food.

Food manufacturers will therefore continue to find themselves under growing pressure to find ways of reducing salt, and the market for healthy alternatives to salt remains very attractive.

Health officials in United States have urged the reduction, or elimination, of sodium in the diet since it has been identified as a significant risk factor in developing high blood pressure and subsequent heart disease.

Consumer watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which praised Campbell's initiative, last year petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set strict limits on the salt content of processed foods, suggesting that the substance should be treated as a food additive for the purposes of regulation.

Related topics: Flavours and colours

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