Kellogg – Salt Reformulation Case Study

Who: Kellogg Australia and New Zealand. Kellogg was founded by W.K. Kellogg over 100 years ago in Michigan, United States, Kellogg was the first-ever breakfast cereal shaping an entire industry.

Product range:

Kellogg Australia and New Zealand has a wide range of brands and products including brands such as Special K®, Corn Flakes ®, Sultana Bran®, All-Bran®, Just Right®, Nutri-Grain®, Sustain®, Guardian® and Coco Pops®. Our brand Be Natural® also helps us to provide new and exciting innovations to the market. Our snack brands include K-Time®, SuniBrite® and Pringles®.

Commitment to health and wellness and food and nutrition:

Kellogg is committed to nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive. We believe that everyone deserves the chance to have nourishing breakfast that delights them every day. Our portfolio is designed to bring joy to eating whilst delivering essential nutrition through our foods. We have a large nutrition and wellness team that works every day to ensure our food provides positive nutrition and is developed with the consumer in mind. We have guardrails for food development and all labelling, communications and promotional material are developed in partnership with our in-house nutrition and regulatory team.

Commitment to salt reduction:

For more than two decades, Kellogg has been committed to reducing the sodium in our food while providing positive nutrition and great taste.

Progress so far with salt reduction:

In Australia and New Zealand, we have been working to reduce sodium in our cereals for over 20 years, having reduced salt levels across our portfolio of cereals by 59% which is the equivalent of more than 276 metric tonnes.

The majority of our cereals are below the Food and Health Dialogue’s criterion of 400mg/100g. In Australia, breakfast cereals contribute to only about 2% of the total daily sodium intake[1].

Globally, in 2015 we exceeded our goal of a 30% overall sodium reduction in ready-to-eat cereals five years ahead of schedule. And by 2020, we hope to achieve even further sodium reductions across all our markets.

Since 1997, In Australia and New Zealand, we have reduced sodium across the portfolio:

  1. Sultana Bran® by 59%
  2. All-Bran® by 57%
  3. All-Bran® Wheat Flakes by 57%
  4. Just Right® by 38%
  5. Crunchy Nut® by 47%
  6. Corn Flakes® 52%
  7. Rice Bubbles® by 59%
  8. Special K® Original by 45%, and
  9. Nutri-Grain® by 47%

In fact, Kellogg’s reduced the sodium in Corn Flakes® from 1020mg per 100g when they first appeared in the market down to 485mg per 100g today.  Similarly, Kellogg reduced the sodium in Rice Bubbles® from 1032mg per 100g when they first came to market, down to 415mg per 100g. In addition, some of our key brands are low in sodium such as Just Right® and Sustain ® which contain 30mg and 80mg sodium per 100g, respectively.

Best approach to salt reduction (remove, reduce incrementally over time or replace?)

One of the challenging nutrition issues for Kellogg and other food manufactures is finding ways to reduce the sodium in our foods while also maintaining taste and product integrity, including texture and preservation.  Sodium reductions are more acceptable to people if they occur slowly, over time. This is the approach Kellogg has taken by reducing the sodium in our foods slowly over time by stealth to let consumers palates adjust to the new taste.

Key learnings Kellogg can share with industry:

Kellogg has excellent quality and food technology skills and we have been able to reduce the sodium slowly over time without impacting on the quality and taste of our foods.  Salt in cereal acts as a flavour enhancer and provides important functional characteristics that make it possible for foods to maintain texture.  It also helps maintain food freshness and plays a role in food safety.  Although there are satisfactory substitutes for sugars and fats, the food industry continues to seek acceptable and readily available sodium replacements for use in the development of commercially viable – and palatable – lower-sodium foods. For example, potassium chloride can substitute for sodium chloride, but it has a bitter taste. Sodium is also found in other food ingredients, such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), used as a raising agent, that contribute to the overall sodium content.

However, we believe we have been able to make excellent progress in the last 20 years almost to the point where further reductions are not technically feasible. We continue to examine ways to improve and to design new foods where sodium guardrails are an important part of the food development process.

Quote from Kellogg:

In striving to uphold our founder’s dedication to people and their well-being, we remain committed to creating foods and brands that help to fuel the best in everyone everywhere, with our consumers’ needs at the heart of everything we do. Providing positive nutrition in our foods is core to our business, including more of the nutrients people need and less of the ones they don’t. Examples of this can be found in how we’ve reduced sodium in our foods over time, and how we continue to innovate with positive nutrition in mind.”

Esme Borgelt, Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand.

Contact details & website:

Kellogg (Aust) Ltd, 41-51 Wentworth Avenue, Pagewood, NSW 2035, Tel: (02) 9384 5555

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Health Survey: Nutrition First Results – Foods and Nutrients, 2011-12 4364.0.55.007, Canberra 2014