TOKYO -- Nissin Food Products has announced it will cut the salt content of its popular Cup Noodles by 15% by 2020 to attract health-conscious consumers.
Nissin also plans to urge other domestic instant noodle makers, through instant noodle industrial groups, to reduce salt and compile industry-wide guidelines for low-sodium products.
Salt is an important component of the flavor of Cup Noodles. The company will try to avoid altering the flavor when it reduces the salt, by adding other naturally derived seasonings that enhance umami, or savory taste.
Currently, one serving of regular Cup Noodles contains 5.1 grams of salt -- 2.8 grams for noodles and toppings and 2.3 grams for the soup.
In April 2015, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare cut its daily average salt intake target by 1 gram to less than 8 grams for men and by 0.5 gram to less than 7 grams for women. However, the 2014 national health and nutrition survey results showed that average salt intake per day was 10.9 grams for men and 9.2 grams for women. The World Health Organization has set an even more demanding goal, with less than 5 grams a day.
Japan's low-sodium food market is expanding, as shown by the growth in sales of low-sodium soy sauce. In September, Nissin changed the recipe for Cup Noodles to cater to demand from health-conscious American consumers to cut sodium by more than 20% from conventional products.
The company also plans to adapt recipes to cater to the demands of health-conscious consumers in Europe and other countries.
Nissin is also working to develop Cup Noodles without using artificial umami seasonings. As the population ages, instant noodle makers are expected to develop products to meet the changing needs of society.