Study says consumers like bread with less salt

by Daniel Robison

Consumers can't tell the difference between regular bread and bread with 10 percent less salt, according to taste tests by Oregon State University.

Researchers at OSU's Food Innovation Center in Portland asked nearly 200 people to sample slices of whole wheat sandwich bread made with normal salt levels as well as ones with 10 percent, 20 percent and 30 percent less salt.

People tasted a difference in the 20 percent and 30 percent reductions but they still liked the appearance, texture, smell and taste the same as the normal bread, which was made with 14 grams of salt per slice.

They also said they would be willing to buy a loaf of any of the four samples.

"It's surprising that reducing sodium by nearly a third did not negatively affect how much consumers wanted to buy bread," said Ann Colonna, who manages the sensory science program at the center. "The results suggest consumers would not be able to detect small, incremental cuts to sodium in bread over time."

"Small reductions are also feasible to manufacturers," Colonna added, "and wouldn't require much reformulation to existing recipes."

Sodium chloride, or salt, is often added to foods to enhance flavor. Bread is one of the largest contributors of sodium in the American diet, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). But too much sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease and stroke – together the leading cause of death in Oregon and the United States, Colonna said.

OSU researchers aim to establish baselines that show the level at which U.S. consumers can detect less sodium in bread. The few existing studies on sodium reduction in bread are from overseas and cannot be applied to the United States because taste preferences vary by country, said Colonna, a food scientist in OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences.

"The U.S. marketplace and consumers are unique, and food companies need detailed data to reference when potentially reducing sodium levels in the future," she said. "We're trying to get the ball rolling."

This fall, the results of the study were presented to Franz Bakery, also known as United States Bakery, the largest manufacturer of bread in Oregon.

A CDC grant awarded to the Oregon Department of Health Division funded the taste test.

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rolled out new nutrition standards for school breakfast and lunch, and for the first time ever, there is a sodium limit. It will be difficult for schools to comply with new sodium requirements without procuring reduced- , said Kim La Croix, a policy specialist for the Oregon Health Authority.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

ASH: People with hypertension prefer higher salt taste

May 16, 2013

(HealthDay)—People with hypertension have a taste for more salt in their food than do individuals with normotension, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, ...

Bread with 50% less salt is just as appetizing

Nov 09, 2011

People are just as willing to eat bread containing half the amount of salt as regular bread, according to a study published in the scientific periodical Journal of Nutrition. The study was carried out as par ...

Making whole wheat bread taste and smell more appetizing

Jan 09, 2013

The key to giving whole wheat bread a more appetizing aroma and taste may lie in controlling the amounts of a single chemical compound that appears in the bread, which nutritionists regard as more healthful ...

Recommended for you

India to raise age for tobacco purchases, ban single sales

1 hour ago

Health campaigners Wednesday welcomed India's plans to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 25 and ban unpackaged cigarettes, hailing them as a major step towards stopping nearly one million tobacco-related deaths a year.

Americans are smoking less than ever

1 hour ago

The percentage of Americans who are smokers has fallen to an all-time low, now representing just 17.8 percent of the population, a study released Tuesday found.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.