Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) announced plans to reduce sodium by an average of 10% across its products primarily in North America over the next two years. Management stated that a number of U.S. consumers are concerned about their sodium intake and this move by Kraft should help them achieve their target.

Reduction of salt is not new to Kraft foods. To date, the company has already reduced sodium between 5% and 30% in many products. Furthermore, the company has more than 100 products that contain either low, reduced or no sodium including Oscar Mayer Lower Sodium Bacon, Planters Lightly Salted Nuts and Hint of Salt crackers including Triscuit, Ritz, Wheat Thins and Premium.

Amongst other cuts, the company now expects to reduce sodium by 17% in Oscar Mayer Bologna and by 20% in some flavors of Easy Mac Cups. According to the Food and Drug Administration, people with high blood pressure and others should limit their daily salt intake to 1500 milligrams.

With these guidelines in mind, other major food companies have also been reducing sodium in their offerings. For example, Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) has cut sodium in more than 100 of its products including V8 juices, Prego sauces, Pepperidge Farm breads and in some of its soups by 25% to 50% over the past four years. Further, in December 2009, Campbell had announced that it would cut sodium in its SpaghettiOs canned pasta by up to 35%.

Similarly, ConAgra Foods Inc. (CAG) in October 2009 announced its intention of cutting sodium by 20% over the next five years.

Given the growing awareness regarding sodium, together with the FDA guidelines, will continue to pressure food companies to find ways to reduce salt in their products.

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