The Role of Multiply-Fortified Table Salt and Bouillon in Food Systems Transformation

Dipika Matthias, Christine M. McDonald, Nicholas Archer and Reina Engle-Stone
Nutrients (MDPI)
Resource type:
Peer review

Our global food system lacks the critically needed micronutrients to meet the daily requirements of the most at-risk populations. Diets also continue to shift toward unhealthy foods, including the increased intake of salt. While most countries exceed the WHO’s recommended levels, sodium does play an essential physiological role. Table salt and other salt-containing condiments, such as bouillon, also have cultural importance, as they are used to enhance the flavor of foods cooked at home. Given their universal consumption across income classes and both urban and rural populations, these condiments are an integral part of the food system and should, therefore, be part of its transformation. Fortification of salt and salt-containing condiments can play a catalytic role in the delivery of population-wide nutritional and health benefits. With relatively consistent levels of intake across the population, these condiments hold high potential for delivering micronutrients beyond iodine while also reducing concerns related to high micronutrient intake, particularly so in countries where the industries are relatively consolidated. As a flexible and complementary strategy to an evolving food system, fortification levels can also be adjusted over time to ensure micronutrient delivery targets continue to be achieved as the system improves, whether through lower intakes of sodium in line with WHO recommendations, enhanced consumption of nutrient-dense foods, and/or broader adoption of biofortified crops. Future areas of innovation are required to realize this vision, including developing affordable salt substitutes to meet cost requirements of consumers in low-and middle-income countries, improving the stability and bioavailability of the micronutrients in condiments so that delivery targets can be reached without affecting sensory attributes, and the development of efficient systems for monitoring population intake and micronutrient status to inform fortification program design and management. Rather than being considered antithetical to the transformation, multiply-fortified salt and bouillon can strengthen our ability to meet the cultural, sensory, nutritional, and health needs of an evolving food system.



This resource has been peer reviewed