Work already begun on taking 10 million pounds of salt out of
OMAHA, Neb.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 15, 2009--
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) one of North America’s leading food
makers, today announced its pledge to reduce salt across its portfolio
of food products by 20 percent by 2015. Since 2006, the company has
already removed more than 2 million pounds of salt from its products.
Today’s pledge adds 8 million pounds of salt to the equation, with the
company ultimately removing 10 million pounds of salt from American
diets each year.
The company’s commitment builds on ConAgra Foods’ legacy as a leader in
helping consumers reduce and control sodium intake. More than 20 years
ago, ConAgra Foods introduced Healthy Choice® meals to the
marketplace—the first, and still the only, line of meals in the grocery
store to earn the “healthy” label, in part, for meeting the U.S.
government’s recommendations for healthy sodium levels.
“Sodium reduction is part of our ongoing work to make food more
nutritious,” said Gary Rodkin, ConAgra Foods CEO. “Americans need less
salt in their diets, and they want less salt in their diets. We have the
capability to meet consumer wants and needs—food people love not only
because it tastes good, but also because it’s better for them.”
In fact, the latest HealthFocus Trend Report noted that both
interest in and use of lower salt options among primary grocery shoppers
has increased dramatically over the past four years. In 2004, 19 percent
of shoppers indicated they used low-sodium products once a week or more,
compared to 41 percent using low-sodium products once a week or more in
Building on the knowledge and expertise gained through their development
of recipes for Healthy Choice, ConAgra Foods’ chefs and scientists have
worked diligently since 2006 to reduce salt in various brands, such as
Orville Redenbacher’s® popcorn and Chef Boyardee®
pasta. To date, this work has resulted in 2 million fewer pounds of salt
per year in the domestic food supply.
Over the past few years, several respected public health authorities,
including the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health &
Human Services, and the American Heart Association, have solidified
their position on the importance of reducing sodium intake. Research
released earlier this year by two different groups1
calculated the potential health and economic benefits of sodium
reduction to the American public. Based upon those estimates it is
projected that, if the food industry were to follow ConAgra Foods’ lead
and reduce salt by 20 percent across product portfolios, U.S. medical
costs might be reduced by as much as $4 billion to $10 billion annually.
The scope of the ConAgra Foods’ salt reduction is broad and diverse,
including as many as 20 brands, 160 product varieties (formulas), and
all temperature categories in the supermarket. “ConAgra Foods has the
ability to make an impact on sodium in a very broad way,” said Al
Bolles, Ph.D., executive vice president, Research, Quality & Innovation,
ConAgra Foods. “What that means is that we’ll need to use different
techniques to keep or enhance the taste of all types of food in our
portfolio, from Hunt’s® tomatoes to Marie Callender’s®
convenient meals to Fleischmann’s® table spreads. This is a
definite challenge—but one that is very worthwhile and one we are
confident that we can meet.”
Importantly, ConAgra Foods’ pledge to reduce salt 20 percent by 2015 is
only a snapshot of its work in this area, and only a portion of its
overall work to make food more healthful. “We expect to continue to make
food better, whether it’s through the inclusion of whole grains and
other important nutrients, or reducing sodium, far beyond 2015,” said
Bolles. “We recognize the critical nature of our role in good health,
and we’ll continue to make positive contributions. Providing good
nutrition is essential to consumer and company well-being and is part of
our overall commitment to social responsibility.”
The company will track its work in sodium reduction and make it publicly
available each year through the ConAgra Foods Corporate Social
Responsibility report, published at www.conagrafoods.com.
ConAgra Foods, Inc., (NYSE: CAG) is one of North America’s leading food
companies, with brands in 97 percent of America’s households. Consumers
find Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew
National, Hunt’s, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM, Peter
Pan, Reddi-wip and many other ConAgra Foods brands in grocery,
convenience, mass merchandise, and club stores. ConAgra Foods also has a
strong business-to-business presence, supplying potato, other vegetable,
spice and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants,
foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information,
please visit us at www.conagrafoods.com.
1. Potential health benefits and medical cost savings from calorie,
sodium, and saturated fat reductions in the American diet, American
Journal of Health Promotion, July/Aug 2009. Potential societal
savings from reduced sodium consumption in the U.S. adult population, American
Journal of Health Promotion, Sept/Oct 2009.
Source: ConAgra Foods, Inc.
ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Teresa Paulsen, 402-240-5210
President, Corporate Communication