A number of major food manufacturers have made an effort to lower the amount of sodium in their brands. Reducing salt (a major source of sodium) in foods is challenging both from a food processing standpoint and from a consumer acceptance position.
Research has shown that for some groups of food the consumer can taste a sodium reduction as small as 8%. When the person’s favorite brand no longer delivers the anticipated taste, the company can lose sales. To counteract this concern, many companies are progressively lowering the sodium. Instead of large changes, the sodium is slowly reduced over time to allow the consumer to become accustomed to the new, lower salt flavor. This has worked successfully for a number of soup brands.
Simply taking salt out of a recipes is not as easy as it sounds. Beside taste, salt is a functional ingredient. It helps to preserve foods, it adds texture, helps to maintain color, and is important in baking and cheesemaking.
Like many companies, Del Monte Foods has made a commitment to reduce the sodium levels in their vegetable and tomato products by 20%. Because of this initiative 80% of Del Monte, S&W, and Contadina brand vegetables and tomato products have either had sodium levels decreased or they already do not have salt added.
The leading canned vegetable products in each brand line have less than 300 milligrams of sodium in a serving; many have less than 240 milligrams. Diced tomatoes have 140 milligrams in a serving. The sodium information on the nutrition label reflects the entire contents of the can. If the vegetable is drained, the sodium is reduced even further, as much as 40% to 60%. When the sodium is lowered, no replacement ingredients are added. The amount of salt used in the food is simply less.
When looking for lower sodium canned vegetables and tomatoes, look at Del Monte brands when you shop.