Most North Americans have dietary sodium intakes that approach or exceed recommended limits, which is potentially a risk factor for hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Over half of food expenditures are for foods prepared and consumed away from home. These foods are consumed at various venues, including restaurants, workplaces, schools and universities, military installations, and assisted living/long-term care facilities.

This paper is the outcome of a Food Service Sodium Dialogue IAFNS hosted with Food Service Sector leaders, government, and academic experts to understand how to foster sodium reduction progress in this sector.

The diversity of establishments and differing regulatory requirements presents unique challenges to sodium reduction in food service. Despite some challenges, there are successful strategies used to reduce the sodium content at food establishments. A new perspective article reviews the challenges and strategies that have been used by the food service industry to reduce sodium, as well as future sodium reduction strategies.

The food service industry has made progress in reducing the sodium content of the foods that they sell. However, there is still room for improvement, and strategies such as reducing sodium in high volume foods, considering sodium content in recipe development, and setting sodium targets for high sodium foods have the potential to make an impact on sodium content across food service venues and, therefore, on the American diet and cardiovascular disease risk.

To learn more about this work and that of the IAFNS Sodium Committee click here.