Campbell studies acclimation to reduced sodium

by Jeff Gelski
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NEW ORLEANS — The Campbell Soup Co. is studying whether consumers may become acclimated to reduced sodium soups over time, said Beth Roche, global director, sensory and product guidance, in a scientific session June 14 at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in New Orleans.

Campbell already has noticed its product developers become acclimated to low sodium soups. When the developers go back and try the full sodium soups, they may find them too salty, Ms. Roche said.

Campbell through home-use testing now seeks to find if the same situation holds true for consumers, who are eating soups and evaluating them multiple times over a specific time period. The consumers do not know they actually are eating the same soup every time, Ms. Roche said. Campbell thus may find if the consumers’ liking of the soup may increase over time.

The Campbell study is in line with an April 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine that said reduction in the sodium content of foods should be carried out gradually and monitored carefully.

At the I.F.T. session Ms. Roche said Campbell has found different products require different solutions for reducing sodium. For example, reducing sodium in bread requires a different approach than reducing sodium in a pasta sauce or vegetable juice.

Ms. Roche said talking about sodium reduction to consumers requires a “very fine balance.” Consumers may view the word “salt” as complementing food while the word “sodium” is a medicinal and chemical way to talk about food, she said.

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