CHICAGO — About half (52%) of American adults are currently watching their diet, and 15% of those watching their diet are doing so due to concerns about salt intake, according to Mintel.

Forty-four per cent of consumers said they always or usually consult the Nutrition Facts Panel and/or ingredient list to look at sodium when considering foods. In comparison, 51% of consumers “always” or “usually” look at fat content, 47% pays attention to sugar levels and 49% are interested in calorie counts.

“The relatively high incidence of dieting in the U.S. is one key factor driving demand for low-sodium products,” said Molly Maier, senior health and wellness analyst at Mintel. “Our findings indicate that fat and calorie contents are more likely than sodium to influence purchase. Thus, companies may be able to maximize the appeal of low-sodium foods by also showing, where appropriate, that they are low in fat and calories.”

In addition, 62% of Americans believe manufacturers are responsible for disclosing the amount of sodium in their products, 35% feel the government is responsible for this, and 18% believe it is the responsibility of the retailers. Even through consumers are interested in disclosure of sodium levels, only 46% believe the manufacturers should implement sodium restrictions, and only 34% believe the government should.

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents usually or always limit salt consumption at home, and 44% do so when at a restaurant.

“This indicates that while restaurant chains can benefit from sodium reduction initiatives, they are especially important for manufacturers of packaged foods, including those that make sauces, condiments and other flavor enhancers often used to prepare meals at home,” Ms. Maier said.

Women are also more likely than men to limit the amount of salt they cook with at home and to look at sodium levels when shopping.