Consumers Fret About Sodium, But Eat Fewer Low-sodium/Sodium-free Foods

At a time when food manufacturers, health organizations and the government are working to help Americans cut down the amount of sodium they consume, Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research company The NPD Group has discovered a disconnect between consumers’ worries about how much sodium they’re ingesting and the low-sodium and sodium-free foods they actually eat.

The amount of sodium concern isn’t as high as 20 years ago, but worry has risen of late — yet the number of consumers eating low-sodium/sodium-free foods has steadily declined, according to NPD’s “National Eating Trends,” which has continually tracked Americans’ eating habits for the past 30 years.

“In my 30 years of observing Americans’ eating behaviors, there is often a gap between what consumers say and what they do,” noted Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group and author of “Eating Patterns in America.” “It’s easier to aspire to a positive behavior than to actually do it.”

Also on the subject of sodium,a separate NPD food market research report, “A Look into The Future of Eating,” has found that caution in serving foods containing salt will grow over the forthcoming decade. The projected number of consumers who think that “a person should be very cautious in serving foods with salt” is forecasted to increase 14 percent by 2018.
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