For many food outlets, nutrition comes second to taste and value. In the past, this has met the needs of customers. However, the market is changing and in order to maintain high sales, food suppliers need to think more about the nutritional content of their products.
The younger generation is more health conscious than their parents and are increasingly demanding healthy food. In order to provide this, the food service industry should begin by considering how much they preload their products with salt and sugar.
Dangers of Salt and Sugar
Both salt and sugar have been shown to be detrimental on physical health. The effect of too much sodium can cause conditions such a high blood pressure. The kidneys are there to flush out excess salt, but have a problem doing so. They must therefore retain more water, which in turn increases the amount of blood in vessels. This increases pressure as the heart works harder to pump blood around the body, leading to cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack.
Around 10% of Americans receive a quarter of their calorie intake from sugar. This doubles the chance of dying from heart disease. Sugar has strong links to obesity and diabetes, but even those of a healthy weight could suffer heart conditions. It is therefore vital to keep sugar consumption down.
Giving Control to Customers
Of course, the food service industry cannot tell people which food to consume. For example, removing sugar from coffee shops entirely is not necessary. However, the sugar should not be put directly into hot drinks. Many people are unaware of how much sugar is in their preferred coffee.
Instead, the food industry should give customers the choice of what they add. In fact, adding salt to coffee is beneficial in improving the taste, but the customer should have the responsibility to take this decision for themselves. When it comes to sugar, it is easier to recognize if you are having too much, if allowed to add it yourself. This obviously extends beyond coffee, to all sugary foods. A slight reduction in the sugar content of a chocolate pudding may not make much taste difference, but could significantly reduce health risks.
Customers are increasingly demanding control over the nutrition of their food. The Food service industry should therefore reduce the sugar and salt content where possible. Ideally, remove these substances altogether and give customers the choice to add as much or as little as they desire.
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