PepsiCo Develops ‘Designer Salt’ to Chip Away at Sodium Intake

(Wall Street Journal) PLANO, Texas—Later this month, at a pilot manufacturing plant here, PepsiCo Inc. plans to start churning out batches of a secret new ingredient to make its Lay’s potato chips healthier.

The ingredient is a new “designer salt” whose crystals are shaped and sized in a way that reduces the amount of sodium consumers ingest when they munch. PepsiCo hopes the powdery salt, which it is still studying and testing with consumers, will cut sodium levels 25% in its Lay’s Classic potato chips. The new salt could help reduce sodium levels even further in seasoned Lay’s chips like Sour Cream & Onion, PepsiCo said, and it could be used in other products like Cheetos and Quaker bars.

At an investor conference Monday in New York, the company said it is committed to cutting its products’ average sodium per serving by 25% by 2015 and saturated fat and added sugar by 15% and 25%, respectively, this decade.

The designer salt is one of the latest and most intricate efforts yet by a food company to vault ahead of concerns among government officials about the possible health effects of the widespread use of sodium in processed foods.

Eating too much salt can contribute to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease. Most Americans consume about twice their recommended limit daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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