Decreasing population sodium intake has been identified as a “best buy” for reducing non-communicable disease. The aim of this study was to explore 10-year changes in the sodium content of New Zealand processed foods. Nutrient data for nine key food groups were collected in supermarkets in 2003 (n
= 323) and 2013 (n
= 885). Mean (SD) and median (min, max) sodium content were calculated by food group, year and label type (private/branded). Paired t-
tests explored changes in sodium content for all products available for sale in both years (matched; n
= 182). The mean (SD) sodium content of all foods was 436 (263) mg (100 g)−1
in 2003 and 433 (304) mg (100 g)−1
in 2013, with no significant difference in matched products over time (mean (SD) difference, −56 (122) mg (100 g)−1
, 12%; p
= 0.22). The largest percentage reductions in sodium (for matched products) were observed for Breakfast Cereals (28%; −123 (125) mg (100 g)−1
), Canned Spaghetti (15%; −76 (111) mg (100 g)−1
) and Bread (14%; −68 (69) mg (100 g)−1
). The reduction in sodium was greater for matched private vs.
branded foods (−69 vs.
−50 mg (100 g)−1
, both p
< 0.001). There has been modest progress with sodium reduction in some New Zealand food categories over the past 10 years. A renewed focus across the whole food supply is needed if New Zealand is to meet its global commitment to reducing population sodium intake.
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