Nissin to slash salt content in Japanese instant noodles

A regular serving of Nissin noodles busts the WHO's recommended daily salt intake.
A regular serving of Nissin noodles busts the WHO's recommended daily salt intake.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Japan's Nissin Foods 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 plan, reported by financial news daily Nikkei Asian Review on Sunday, is aimed at the domestic market in Japan.

Nissin Singapore did not reply by press time to Straits Times queries on whether the product line in Singapore will also be affected.

But the Nikkei report said Nissin "plans to adapt recipes to cater to the demands of health-conscious consumers in Europe and other countries".

Within Japan, the company will urge its rivals to reduce the amount of salt in their products.

It is also calling on the industry to jointly come up with industry guidelines.

Salt has traditionally been a key ingredient in cup noodles, but Nissin said that in place of salt, it will use naturally derived seasoning to boost the product's savoury umami taste.

In Japan, each regular serving of Nissin cup noodles contains 5.1g of salt, Nikkei Asian Review reported - 2.8g of salt comes from the noodles and toppings, and 2.3g from the soup.

This is higher than World Health Organisation's recommended daily salt intake of less than 5g a day.

The WHO guidelines are more stringent than the revised standards adopted by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare two years ago.

Japanese authorities recommend a daily salt intake of less than 8g for adult men and less than 7g for adult women. An earlier nationwide health and nutrition study had shown that the average salt intake was 10.9g a day for men and 9.2g a day for women.

Nissin's move comes as the market for low-sodium food products expands worldwide.

The company tweaked its cup noodle recipe for the United States in September to cater to more health-conscious customers, cutting the sodium content by more than 20 per cent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2016, with the headline 'Nissin to slash salt content in Japanese instant noodles'. Print Edition | Subscribe