Nestle Prepared Foods Company to Decrease Sodium by Another 10% by 2015

The most recent example of the company’s ongoing efforts to provide sound nutrition balanced with great taste are STOUFFER’S(R) Farmers’ Harvest(TM) meals, to be available nationally by year’s end. The Farmers’ Harvest(TM) portfolio includes three new family size meals and seven new individual servings of classic but updated favorites like Macaroni & Cheese and Lasagna.

Taste is assured by the use of high-quality ingredients such as sea salt, olive oil and real cheese. Whole grains are featured in eight of the recipes while four of the individual meals feature 1/2 cup of vegetables. (The 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day; one serving equals 1/2 cup.) Sodium content for these ten varieties ranges from 660-950 mg (28% – 40% DV or Percent Daily Value).

Modernizing Macaroni & Cheese is another way that Nestle has improved the nutritional profile and sodium content of its offerings, while still assuring taste. First introduced in 1954, the company’s top-selling STOUFFER’S(R) Macaroni & Cheese is now available in a variety made with whole grain, introduced in the Farmers’ Harvest(TM) range.

In addition, classic STOUFFER’S(R) Macaroni & Cheese has decreased sodium levels of its 20 oz. and 12 oz. packages from 920 mg per serving to 820 mg per serving (from 38%DV to 34% DV, an average decrease of 10 percent) since 2005. The average sodium level for the entire range of STOUFFER’S(R) meals is now at 876 mg (36.5% DV).

The changes to sodium content were made gradually, since consumer research consistently has shown that consumers often associate sodium reduction with reduced flavor. With this approach of stepwise, moderate reductions, Nestle has managed to avoid negative reactions as well as helping consumers gradually adapt their taste for salt, making their choices more likely to last.

“We’ve taken a ‘slow but steady’ approach to updating our Macaroni & Cheese,” Alford recalled. “We wanted to make this change in a way that consumers would adapt to easily and enjoyably. As it turns out, ‘slow and steady’ has been a successful approach in transitioning this American favorite to this new sodium level.”

STOUFFER’S(R) is not the only brand within the Nestle Prepared Foods Company roster to gradually decrease sodium levels over the years. LEAN CUISINE(R) was introduced to the American marketplace in 1981 with 10 products; average sodium levels were then at or above 1,000 mg. Today, LEAN CUISINE(R) offers 123 varieties with an average sodium level of 606 mg (25% DV).

Within the LEAN CUISINE(R) line, fifteen SPA CUISINE(TM) and eight new MARKET CREATIONS items all contain 1/2 cup vegetables (2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day; one serving equals 1/2 cup). Fifteen LEAN CUISINE(R) items are made with 100% whole grain pasta. Ten varieties of LEAN CUISINE(R) feature seafood, which provides an excellent source of omega-3.*

BUITONI(R) Refrigerated Pastas also have heeded consumer requests for tasty and nutritious choices. In 2005, when the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommended that Americans consume more whole grains, BUITONI(R) invited consumers to try their whole wheat ravioli, linguine and tortellini varieties.

“As part of the world’s largest food company, our Nestle businesses have access to a depth of knowledge and expertise that is unmatched,” said Alford. “Working with Nestle S.A., we have established Nutrition Foundations for our key brands and used the guidance provided by the Nestle S.A. policies on sodium, sugar, and trans fat to shape the product development work at Nestle Prepared Foods Company. We are pleased to be able to offer American favorites that deliver delicious taste and thoughtful nutrition in every bite.”

Well-known Nestle brands include: NestlE(R) Toll House(R), NestlE(R) Nesquik(R), NestlE(R) Coffee-mate(R), Stouffer’s(R), Lean Cuisine(R), HOT POCKETS(R) and LEAN POCKETS(R) brand sandwiches, NescafE(R), NescafE(R) Taster’s Choice(R), NESTLE(R) Juicy Juice(R), Buitoni(R), DREYER’S/EDY’S(R), NestlE(R) Crunch(R), NestlE(R) Butterfinger(R), Wonka(R), DIGIORNO(R), TOMBSTONE(R) and CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN(R) frozen pizza.