Advertise with

Unilever: consumers don't easily accept less salt
Unilever: consumers don't easily accept less salt

Unilever: consumers don't easily accept less salt


Business Day - Jun 19th 2012, 08:26

Most South Africans do not believe tasty food can be made with less salt, and few realise cutting their intake may fend off a heart attack or stroke, according to new research by food giant Unilever. 

Getting to grips with consumer attitudes to salt is vital for food producers, as the government is introducing laws restricting the salt content of processed food.

Salt causes high blood pressure, which in turn raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Most South Africans consume double the government’s recommended daily salt threshold of between four and six grams, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said last year.

Unilever’s nutrition and health manager, Nazeeia Sayed, said the company was struggling with consumer acceptance of less salty food products.

"Once they hear ‘less salt’ they think ‘less taste’," she said yesterday, describing how consumers rejected a 25% lower salt content stock cube five years ago.

"Although internal testing said it tasted fine, it didn’t sell well."

Unilever’s latest research, which included two focus groups and 996 respondents to an online survey, found a fifth of respondents added salt at the table before tasting their food.

Ms Sayed said most consumers only considered the health effects of the salt in their diet after being diagnosed with a disorder such as high blood pressure. The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Erika Ketterer said more consumer education was needed.

"A lot of people know a high fat intake is linked to high cholesterol. But it’s not the same with salt. Many people don’t know that there is a huge amount of salt in processed food; they think it only comes from the salt shaker."

One gram of salt contains about 400 mg of sodium. The element is also found in preservatives such as sodium benzoate and flavour enhancers such as monosodium glutamate.

The Department of Health’s spokesman, Fidel Hadebe, said yesterday regulations controlling the amount of salt in food products were being considered by Dr Motsoaledi. He declined to say when they would be published for comment.  

Related News

Fabric softener brand ordered to change name after Sta-Soft complaint
12/09/2019 - 09:01
A local fabric softener brand has been ordered to change its labelling after the advertising regulatory board found that its use of the word "soft" was imitating rival brand Sta-Soft.

Eliminating packaging is a good start - but here's what supermarkets should do to stop harming the planet
26/08/2019 - 15:02
The first key step towards this vision is widening the packaging-free philosophy to all stores of all the major supermarkets, and, crucially, not giving consumers who might resist change the option to stick with the polluting packaged goods that feel so familiar.

Lidl introduces reusable fruit and veg bags
15/08/2019 - 11:29
The ‘Green Bags’, priced at 69p for two, provide customers with a reusable alternative to single-use, small fruit, and vegetable bags.

Unilever, Tesco, Nestlé ranked top on meat alternatives
08/08/2019 - 10:39
Unilever, Tesco, and Nestlé are among the best prepared to capitalise on the trend for plant-based meat substitutes, according to a report from an investor group managing $5-trillion in assets.

Nestlé Waters teams up with Ocean Legacy for plastic waste clean-up
11/07/2019 - 09:44
Nestlé’s bottled water division Nestlé Waters, owner of Perrier and Vittel, says it will team up with Canada’s Ocean Legacy Foundation to help to clean up plastic pollution.