Monday, January 11, 2010

Pass (On) the Salt, Please...

There's a very curious story in today's newspapers - the biggest food manufacturers are gradually reducing the amount of salt in some of the most popular items sold in our supermarkets.  Through painful experience they found that cutting salt content too quickly produces dissatisfied customers, who find less-salty foods are too bland to enjoy.  We all really have to compliment them for doing the right thing and doing it so smartly.  Our brains don't like stark contrasts - going from something very warm to very cold, very sweet to unsweetened, etc.  By reducing the salt content over a period of time, our brain gradually learns to perceive the less-salty foods as equally enjoyable.

As I've always believed, there are very few intrinsically bad companies, just bad incentive systems.  And once the public opinion and market forces demanded the lower salt products, the industry has indeed figured out and the smartest way possible to deliver.  Once again, a little knowledge on the part of the public goes a long way to improve our health and the quality of life.

Bon apetite!

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