Peter Duggan, Strategic Information Services, Bord Bia
Salt reduction is becoming increasingly important in diets as consumers continue to address their health and wellbeing needs as highlighted in Bord Bia’s Consumer Lifestyle Trends Programme. This trend has the potential to offer manufacturers an alternative marketing claim to add value to their product.
A recent industry survey carried out by Business Insights shows that 94% of their global respondents perceived reduced salt as important over the next five years. However, the extent to which new products launched that incorporated reduced salt claims were considerably lower than products with reduced fat claims over the 2007-10 period (1.6% vs. 7.9%).
The results of Bord Bia’s PERIscope research in 2009 suggested that Irish consumers were turning away from salty products with around 90% claiming to have reduced their salt intake. Similar trends in Northern Ireland and Great Britain were also evident. This contrasts with figures reported by the International Food Information Council which shows that limiting salt was only important to 38% of US respondents with 70% not knowing what the dietary requirements were. Both these developments reflect the lack of global product innovation and marketing surrounding salt reduction to date.
These developments would suggest that there is strong potential in the market for products with reduced salt content, provided consumers can be convinced that the reformulated products perform equally as well in terms of taste, safety and shelf life characteristics.