NEW YORK—Stemming from a multi-health organization partnership, 21 companies, including Subway and Starbucks, have cut salt levels in products, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Monday.
The National Salt Reduction Initiative, started in 2009 by Bloomberg, has a mission of reducing salt in packaged and restaurant food by 25 percent by 2014, through voluntary partnerships with food manufacturers, supermarket suppliers, and restaurants.
This year marks the so-called midpoint of the initiative. Out of the 24 companies that pledged to cut a certain amount of salt, 21 cut salt enough in at least two products to meet the midway goals.
Kraft Foods, for instance, cut sodium by 18 percent in its slices of American cheese, mostly through replacing sodium chloride with potassium chloride. The chemical gives food a salty taste without any known side effects, according to Ross Moroz, Kraft’s vice president of research, development, and quality.
Cutting salt out of foods—specifically, people eating 1,200 milligrams less every day—could prevent up to 92,000 deaths and sace up to $24 billion in health care costs every year, according to the city’s Department of Health.
The companies voluntarily setting and meeting reduction goals signals company officials understand the market is shifting to one where people want healthier foods, said Bloomberg.
“Down the road, we’re going to have to eat healthier, or we’re literally going to go bankrupt with health care costs,” said Bloomberg.
Hostess, which recently went bankrupt, was one of the three companies that had pledged to cut sodium from some products and didn’t meet the goals. The other two remained unidentified by the city’s Department of Health.