Salt set to be next ‘bad boy’ ingredient in children’s food

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

"The fact that children also suffer from high blood pressure, which is exacerbated by high sodium intake and predisposes them to cardiovascular disease and strokes in later life, has not yet sunk into public health consciousness," said Baroke
"The fact that children also suffer from high blood pressure, which is exacerbated by high sodium intake and predisposes them to cardiovascular disease and strokes in later life, has not yet sunk into public health consciousness," said Baroke

Related tags: Salt, Food, Flavor

Manufacturers should act now to reduce salt content in foods intended for children – or risk criticism in the near future, says a Euromonitor analyst.

Contributing analyst Simone Baroke argues that while ‘low salt’ may deter adult consumers from buying certain products, the opposite is likely to be the case for parents of young children. And it is only a matter of time before the media lose interest in sugar and its suggested role in obesity, she claims in a post on Euromonitor’s blog​.

“The current sugar storm will not last forever – soon another bad boy ingredient will take its place, and it may well be salt,”​ she wrote.

The food industry has been scrutinised for the salt content of its products – and with good reason; about 75% of salt in the diet is estimated to come from processed foods. However, consumers tend to associate the words ‘reduced salt’ with ‘reduced flavour’, leading salt reduction advocates, like the UK’s Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), to suggest a gradual reduction in salt levels to retune taste preferences to a less salty flavour without consumers’ knowledge.

“With young children, however, the taste issue poses much less of a hurdle,”​ wrote Baroke. “A palate that has never grown accustomed to high levels of salt requires very little for a pleasing taste experience, and commercial baby food is usually tightly regulated to contain only very small quantities.”

Parents seeking ‘low salt’ foods for kids

She added that parents were very likely to start checking ingredient lists carefully for salt levels, from the moment they are informed of the need to restrict their children’s salt consumption.

“Manufacturers need to act fast if they want to avoid criticism, and now is also the time to prepare their portfolios to include more products for young children explicitly positioned as being low in salt.”

According to UK recommendations, children aged 1-3 should consume no more than 2 g of salt per day, rising to 3 g for those aged 3-5 and a maximum of 5 g for those aged 7-10.

A CASH study carried out in March this year found that 28% of ‘family friendly’ UK restaurant foods aimed directly at children contained more than 2 g of salt per serving. Meanwhile, an Australian study found that children there aged four to eight consumed an average of 5.1 g of salt per day – above the 5 g the World Health Organisation recommends as a maximum healthy amount for adults.

“The message that children eat far too much salt and that it primes them for serious health conditions in the future is a media frenzy waiting to happen,”​ said Baroke. “Research shows that the problem is widespread, and that packaged food is the prime culprit.”

Related topics: Market Trends, Flavours and colours

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Color trends in Beverages

ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Color trends in Beverages

Chr. Hansen Natural Colors A/S | 01-Apr-2019 | Business Advice

Mintel and Chr Hansen's experts deep dive into the drivers behind color trends, and showcase some exciting examples in the beverage industry, covering...

Bring alive the colours of meat, naturally

Bring alive the colours of meat, naturally

Kancor Ingredients Limited | 27-Mar-2019 | Technical / White Paper

Addition of colour makes food more attractive and appetising. But usage of natural colours always come with technical challenges such as heat stability,...

Related suppliers

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more

Webinars