Salt & Sodium Perceptions are Divided Between Generations
A 2020 study finds that when Baby Boomers are grocery shopping, they react significantly more negatively to ingredients overall.
It’s well understood in our society that generational differences can have a huge effect on how people conduct their lives – impacting factors such as health concerns, financial habits, and work-life priorities. These differences can even run so deep that they significantly influence food and ingredient preferences and purchasing decisions.1
A new 2020 Cargill study found that one type of ingredient, in particular, created a great divide between the generations – salt (and sodium).1
For Millennials (ages 24 to 40 years), salt is less concerning. Compared to the general population, Millennials are 23% more likely to purchase a product if salt is a listed ingredient as shown in the graphic below. Similarly, sodium is much more favorable for this generation as well. Survey results indicated that they would be 19% more likely to purchase a product containing sodium than would the general population.1 In general, Millennials proved to be much more positive toward food ingredients overall than other generations. Sea salt, kosher salt, and potassium-containing salts are important ingredients for this segment, as well.1
When Baby Boomers (ages 61-80 years) are grocery shopping, however, they react significantly more negatively to ingredients overall. If this group reads “salt” on an ingredient list, they are 23% less likely to purchase that product than the general population. Boomers also strongly avoid sodium in foods, indicating they’re 24% less likely than the general population to purchase a product if sodium is listed on the package.
As we evaluate the different purchase decisions of various generations, it’s important to remember that all of our bodies need a specific amount of certain nutrients, such as sodium, to function properly.2 However, too much sodium may increase the potential for health consequences. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, diets higher in sodium are associated with aggravating issues in hypertensive patients, such as heart disease.2 The risks for developing these issues tends to increase as with age, and may help to explain why Boomers are often looking to reduce salt and sodium intake in their diets, as they seek to reduce disease risk.
With diverse food and ingredient preferences across generations, having an understanding of consumer behaviors and purchase patterns for certain food products is essential for category growth. That’s why at Cargill Salt, we offer a wide selection of specialty salts and sodium reduction ingredients to cater to consumers’ varying tastes and concerns. Learn more about our expansive salt ingredient portfolio: https://www.cargill.com/food-beverage/na/food-salt
- Cargill’s 2020 IngredienTracker™ Survey
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, https://www.fda.gov/food/nutrition-education-resources-materials/sodium-your-diet