Japan's food providers pitch tasty low-salt fare


Supermarket chains and food-makers are striving to create demand for good-tasting, low-salt products in response to an increase in health-conscious consumers.

Bland counterparts leave many consumers unsatisfied, even those who are trying to be healthy, insiders say.

Aiming to tap into this market, many companies are promoting low-salt products they say are also delicious.

This spring, supermarket operator Uny Co., based in the city of Inazawa, Aichi Prefecture, will expand its lineup of low-salt products, including tsukemono (pickled vegetables) and seasonings, to more than 50 items.

The unit of FamilyMart Uny Holdings Co. is aiming to “sweep away” the public’s view that low-salt products are bland by highlighting the new products flavored with dashi soup stock and spices, said Kurumi Koike, a Uny official.

This month, food-maker Yamamori Inc., based in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture, will release a soup for sōmen noodles with the salt content cut by some 30 percent compared with normal products by using more dashi, made from bonito flakes.

Seasoning-maker Mizkan Holdings Co., based in the city of Handa, Aichi Prefecture, has introduced dishes seasoned with vinegar or its ponzu citrus-based soy sauce in television commercials and other media, aiming to boost sales of its mainstay vinegar products.

Replacing the same amount of soy sauce with ponzu will cut the amount of salt by some 40 percent, a Mizkan official said.

Besides supermarket operators and food firms, Mos Food Services Inc., the operator of the Mos Burger chain, is using a dressing with the salt content reduced by some 25 percent compared with the company’s previous products.