December 5th, 2013

The Truth About Front Label Sodium Claims

Good Nutrition Month may have passed, but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped caring about good nutrition. Last time we touched on the points of ?Natural? and ?Fat Content.? This time, we?re moving into the topic of sodium content. Once again, we?re using our All Natural Wildfire Buffalo Chicken Sausage band as a reference.

BuffaloChickenFront Buffalo Chicken Sausage Sleeve Back

Sodium Content

Sodium is one of the biggest items that shoppers are concerned about. You may have noticed that our band states nothing about our sodium content. Oddly enough, the FDA?s regulations (and label space) limit us from doing so, even though our chicken sausages products are the lowest in sodium you will find in their category! From a front-label-only stance, this doesn?t work in our favor at all. The good thing about our deli products is that we have a bit more space to flat-out state what our sodium levels are, instead of having to use any ?low sodium? or ?lower sodium? phrasing.

In most cases, for a company to be able to claim ?lower sodium? on a front, they need an original product to relate it to, and it must be at least 25% less sodium. This does not work in our favor, because we?re always striving to make each and every one of our products lower in sodium. Unfortunately, a lot of companies use this to their advantage. Some can have an ?original? product sitting at 600 mg of sodium per serving, while marketing a ?lower sodium? version that is sitting at 450 mg of sodium per serving. They can do so because 450 mg is technically 25% of 600 mg! So in this case, ?lower sodium? only means that it is lower in sodium than one of their other products, and not necessarily other brands.

lowersodium

Those without their own original product to compare with can still use the ?lower sodium? claim, just as long as they state what they are comparing their product to. For example, a turkey sausage package can state that it is 70% lower sodium in large font. Following the large font would be the fine print, stating ?in comparison to the USDA? values for pork sausage. It is already widely accepted that poultry is a healthier option than pork, but checking the nutritional facts on the back would likely reveal the high amount of sodium that is still present in the product.

What this all boils down to is the importance of checking the nutrition facts on a given product. The best option to avoid any marketing claims on the front of the package is to check the nutritionals. While the statements and logos on the front of any package are true, they will not always tell the whole story.

cannedtomatoesWe should note that sometimes, it may be what the package doesn?t have on the front. Take canned diced tomatoes for instance. Some cans state ?no salt added? while others make no reference to salt at all. Compare the sodium content of the ?no salt added? can to the regular can, and you will be surprised at the high amount of sodium in regular cans.

Now back to our chicken sausages. While they currently do not make any sodium claims, checking the nutrition facts show that each link only ranges between 210 and 250 mg of sodium, depending on the flavor. So those levels are pretty low, especially when you compare them to our competitors! So don?t be fooled by ?lower? sodium claims or lack of information on product front labels. Instead, make it a habit to turn the package over to read the nutritionals.

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