There is an attempt afoot in New York City and among various Federal agencies to significantly reduce the amount of salt in food. The idea is to make a healthier population, and that is certainly a worthy goal.
This won’t make everyone happy, of course. Chefs have already begun to grumble. Nor can the Salt Institute be pleased; its data show that food-grade salt sales have already been trending down over the past 10 years:
But who, I wonder, should be celebrating a low-salt future? There will certainly be low-salt winners for some food companies. But what substitutes will rise up to fill the void left by salt — as both a preservative and a flavor-enhancer? Will previously mild-mannered eaters learn to love Tabasco? According to this Boston Globe article by Sacha Pfeiffer, the American appetite has already gotten a lot spicier for a surprising reason: the large, aging Boomer generation who “are losing their ability to taste — and turning to spicier, higher-flavor foods to overcome their dulled senses.” Part of Pfeiffer’s proof:
“Thirty-five percent of all chain and white-tablecloth restaurants mentioned the word ‘spicy’ on their menus a decade ago; by last year that number had risen to 54 percent, according to MenuMine, a menu item database compiled by the Foodservice Research Institute in Oak Park, Ill.”
Question: who do you see most benefiting from a low-salt future, and what will you do to compensate?