Japan's Nissin pledges 15% cut to salt content in cup noodles by 2020

Japan's Nissin Food Products has said it will reduce the salt content in its cup noodles by 15 per cent by 2020, in a bid to woo increasingly health-conscious consumers.
Japan's Nissin Food Products has said it will reduce the salt content in its cup noodles by 15 per cent by 2020, in a bid to woo increasingly health-conscious consumers.PHOTO: ST FILE

TOKYO - Japan's Nissin Food Products has said it will reduce the salt content in its cup noodles by 15 per cent by 2020, in a bid to woo increasingly health-conscious consumers.

The move, which was reported by Japanese financial news daily Nikkei Asian Review on Sunday (Dec 18), is aimed at the domestic market.

It is unclear if Nissin products in Singapore will also be affected, but the report said the company also "plans to adapt recipes to cater to the demands of health-conscious consumers in Europe and other countries".

Nissin intends to urge its domestic rivals to reduce the amount of salt in their products, and to work together with them to compile industry guidelines, the Nikkei report said.

Salt has been traditionally an important component of cup noodles, and Nissin said that in place of salt, it will use naturally-derived seasonings that boost the savoury umami taste.

Each serving of regular-sized cup noodles in Japan contains 5.1g of salt. This comes from 2.8g for the noodles and toppings, and 2.3g for the soup, the Nikkei reported.

In 2013, the World Health Organisation has set a daily average salt intake target of less than 5g a day.

This is much more stringent than the target established by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in April 2015, which is less than 8g for adult men and less than 7g for adult women. In comparison, the previous Japanese standard was less than 9g for men and less than 7.5g for women.

Even so, a nation-wide health and nutrition study in Japan in 2014 showed that the average salt intake per day was 10.9g for men and 9.2g for women, the Nikkei reported.

The market for low sodium food has been expanding around the world.

In September, Nissin tweaked its cup noodle recipe for the United States market to cater to more health-conscious customers, by cutting salt by more than 20 per cent.