Behavioural Nudges, Physico-Chemical Solutions, and Sensory Strategies to Reduce People's Salt Consumption

Foods. 2022 Oct 5;11(19):3092. doi: 10.3390/foods11193092.


This narrative historical review examines the wide range of approaches that has been trialled/suggested in order to reduce the consumption of salt. While sodium is an essential micronutrient, there is widespread evidence that high levels of consumption are leading to various negative health outcomes. This review summarises the evidence relating to the various approaches that have been put forward to date to help reduce salt consumption over the years, while also highlighting a number of important questions that remains for future research. Solutions to reducing salt consumption include everything from the gradual reduction in salt in foods through to the reduction in the number/size of holes in saltshakers (what one might consider a behavioural nudge). Physico-chemical solutions have included salt replacers, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG) through to the asymmetric distribution of salt in processed (e.g., layered) foods. A wide range of sensory approaches to modulating expected and perceived saltiness have also been suggested, including the use of salty aromas, as well as suggesting the use of colour cues, sonic seasoning, and even textural primes. It is currently unclear whether different salty aromas can be combined to increase odour-induced taste enhancement (OITE) effectiveness. In the years ahead, it will be interesting to assess how long such solutions remain effective, as well as whether different solutions can be combined to help reduce salt consumption without having to compromise on taste/flavour.

Keywords: aroma; congruency; flavour; gastrophysics; multisensory; salt-reduction strategies.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.