University of Toronto Study Suggests Voluntary Sodium Reduction is Working
Interim data shows progress and challenges; more work to be done to meet 2016 benchmarks
Statement from Retail Council of Canada and Food & Consumer Products of Canada
“Close examination of these results reveal an impressive snapshot of the Canadian grocery industry. Clearly, industry has made significant progress towards reducing sodium levels in packaged foods – well in advance of the 2016 guidelines.” Dave Wilkes, Senior Vice President, Retail Council of Canada.
In 2010, Health Canada issued a variety of sodium benchmark targets, which were set to achieve an overall sodium reduction of 25-30% by 2016. Today’s results are not the whole picture – the period studied is 2010-2013.
Significant progress has been made in a variety of categories, the research found. In commonly eaten foods, such as ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, English muffins, pizza, canned vegetables, plain chips, instant hot cereals, canned soups, sausages, granola bars and fresh and frozen meat, there have been significant decreases in sodium levels, ranging from 6.6% to 35.3%.
Industry is firmly committed to the Sodium Reduction Strategy, and has been gradually and responsibly reducing the amount of sodium in the food supply for years, to help Canadians lower their sodium intake. Reducing sodium is a complex process involving many factors, including food safety, shelf life and consumer acceptance. While the industry has been striving towards achieving lower sodium levels across all categories of foods, it recognizes there is still room for improvement.
“This report uses interim 2013 data, and therefore reflects interim progress. There is definitely more work to be done, but the report clearly shows that the voluntary approach is working. Industry will continue to innovate and offer new products to consumers to help them make the choices that are right for them and their families.” Joslyn Higginson, Vice President, Food and Consumer Products of Canada.
Retail is Canada’s largest employer with 2.2 million Canadians working in our industry. In 2015, the sector generated payroll over $59 billion and $340 billion in sales (excluding vehicles and gasoline). Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members’ represent more than two-thirds of retail sales in the country. RCC is a not-for-profit industry-funded association and represents small, medium and large retail business in every community across the country. As the Voice of Canadian retailers we proudly represent more than 45,000 storefronts in all retail formats, including department, grocery, specialty, discount, independent retailers and online merchants.
Food & Consumer Products of Canada is Canada’s largest industry association representing companies that manufacture and distribute the vast majority of food, beverage and consumer goods found on drug and grocery store shelves across the country. This industry is the largest manufacturing sector in Canada – more than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined – directly employing nearly 300,000 Canadians from coast to coast, contributing nearly $29 billion annually to the country’s economy and providing safe, high quality products that are found in virtually every single home in Canada. FCPC is committed to educating and empowering consumers to make the food choices that are right for them and their families.