Few ingredients are more common in American food products, or more popular with American consumers, than sugar and salt. Indeed, the average American consumes 3,400 milligrams of salt and 110 grams of sugar every day, amounts well in excess of those recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued by the U.S .Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with USDA. More than just popular, both ingredients are extremely useful to food manufacturers. Sugar, for example, allows for longer shelf-life while adding bulk and color to processed foods. The preservative effect of salt has been known for thousands of years, but salt also serves to reduce cost in comparison to other flavoring agents while masking unpalatable flavors associated with processing. Given this combination of utility for industry and popularity with consumers, there should be little surprise that both sugar and salt maintain a constant presence in the American diet.
For food manufacturers, though, the near future may hold a number of challenges where sugar and salt are concerned. In particular, recent U.S. FDA action implicating sugar and salt, combined with increased willingness on the part of plaintiff lawyers to pursue labeling and ingredient claims against food manufacturers, could lead to an environment of increased cost and litigation across the industry.