SHIFT-SALT: Towards healthy and sustainable diets, with focus on soups and sauces

Soups and sauces are staple foods (foods bought/used more than once a week) and regular part of a typical Dutch / European diet, and therefore important for the sustainability and healthiness of our diet. Reduction of the salt content in this category will contribute to improving healthiness of our diet. Improvements towards sustainability could be related to shifting from animal to plant-based, processing, storage and packaging options. SHIFT-SALT aims to develop solutions towards healthy and sustainability soups and sauces on product level (salt reduction, improving sustainability) and consumer behavior and will demonstrate this in food environments making the healthy and sustainable choice the easy choice for consumers.

Salt reduction in soups and sauces

10-12% of the salt intake of a Dutch consumer is coming from soups and sauces. Together with bread, meat and dairy, this product category is a main source of sodium. Substantial reduction (e.g. >30%) of salt in soups and sauces is difficult as it will affect flavor, safety, product characteristics and consumer appreciation. Reformulation strategies will be developed with a focus on removal and reduction of salt, replacement by other components and enhancement of desired flavor and taste. These strategies influence product quality, (open) shelf-life,  safety and consumer acceptance.

The project combines a better understanding of the role of salt in soups and sauces with the development, in close collaboration with ingredient suppliers, of salt reformulation strategies. One of the results will be a salt reformulation tool for predictive solutions suited for lowering salt in this product category. Machine learning and artificial intelligence will be used to evaluate the existing data and strategies for salt reduction. Case studies with partner products and model food systems will be included to demonstrate the potential of improving the sustainability and healthiness of soups and sauces.

Consumer understanding, sustainability and health

SHIFT-SALT aims to contribute to healthy and sustainable diets, by focusing on a substantial product category in the Dutch/European Diet.  In addition to salt reduction as main aspect for improving healthiness, activities will focus on improving sustainability by characterizing the sustainability hotspots and improving these with respect to sustainability.

The developed strategies will be evaluated on consumer level to know if consumers like and accept the reformulated soups and sauces. Together with the project partners, demonstrations will be done in real food environments, to evaluate consumer behavior in real life settings (e.g. focusing on adding salt or meat to the reformulated product by consumers, appreciation after multiple tastings). Consumer behavior strategies will be developed to stimulate consumers towards healthier and more sustainable soups and sauces.

Moreover, the strategies will be evaluated on diet level to quantify the potential impact of improved sustainability and healthiness of soups and sauces on the diet of a typical Dutch consumer.

Invitation for participation

This consortium is open for participation from soups and sauces manufacturers, ingredient companies, retail, catering and out-of-home companies. In return for in-cash and in-kind contributions to the project, partners can contribute materials for research and provide direction to the research activities. Unfortunately we are not able to reply to enquiries from students related to this project.