Boston Market is the first quick-service restaurant to make meaningful strides towards helping Americans cut down their sodium consumption. The first step? Taking saltshakers off the tables.
Boston Market restaurants across the country have removed the peppershaker’s longtime partner from tables, replacing it with a sign that explains their salt-reducing effort. For customers who absolutely can’t resist the salty temptation, however, saltshakers will be located at beverage stations. Boston Market also has plans to reduce sodium levels by 20 percent in their rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potato dishes.
Many of Boston Market’s dishes have notoriously high levels of sodium. The large meatloaf has a whopping 1640 milligrams of sodium, which is shockingly the same amount of salt that the Caesar salad contains. And while soups typically have high sodium content, Boston Market’s tortilla soup has an outrageous 3060 milligrams of salt per serving.
The good news is that Boston Market, like all other quick0service restaurants, has a great opportunity to improve. According to USA Today, CEO George Michel promises that by 2014, all menu items will have at least 15 percent less sodium. The chain is also testing lower sodium salads, sandwiches, and breads.
A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that if Americans cut back on their daily consumption of sodium by just 1,200 milligrams, it would result in 120,000 less cases of heart disease each year and would save 92,000 lives and $24 billion in health care costs. It is now more important than ever to put down that saltshaker and be more aware of the sodium hiding in the foods we eat.