Colonel Sanders’ original recipe for KFC’s seasoning remains an industry secret, but new research shows there is at least one ingredient that manufacturers around the world are willing to tweak.
A new study from the British-based World Action on Salt and Health, or WASH, suggests the salt content in KFC products, as well as those cooked up by other worldwide food giants, vary widely from country to country with the Canadian versions often containing more sodium than their global counterparts.
The trend holds true for many of the roughly 260 products analyzed in the survey, which include foods from brands such as Nestle, Burger King, Subway, McDonald’s and Kellogg’s.
Canadians starting the morning with a bowl of Kellogg’s All Bran, for instance, are eating a higher-sodium breakfast than Americans with the same cereal preference.
The study showed All Bran sold in Canada contains 2.15 grams of salt per 100 gram serving, while All Bran found in the U.S. contains 70 per cent less salt with just 0.65 grams found in the same amount of cereal.
The same holds true for onion rings purchased at a Burger King located in Canada, which contain more salt per 100 grams than any of their global counterparts at 0.681 grams, according to the study.
Canadians enjoying a six-inch ham sandwich at Subway may be ingesting less salt than those dining on the same meal in New Zealand or Singapore, but are still eating a higher-sodium sandwich than Australians and Finns are able to obtain — the Canadian version contains 0.473 grams of salt per 100 grams compared to 0.464 in Australia and just 0.3 in Finland.
The results have prompted calls for manufacturers to lower the salt content in their products.
WASH chairman Graham MacGregor says such a move would have profound global health benefits, adding that salt is a leading cause of high blood pressure which can in turn lead to heart disease and other serious health concerns.
“The fact that companies distribute products with so much less salt in some countries raises serious ethical concerns.
“It is very hypocritical for manufacturers to make healthy claims about their products whilst unnecessarily adding to worldwide health inequalities,” MacGregor said in a statement.
“A gradual reduction in salt can easily be done across all products in all countries.”
The call was echoed by WASH nutritionist Katharine Jenner.
“We really need food manufacturers to reduce the amount of salt they add to our food across the globe,” she said.
“If Kellogg’s can provide Spain with lower salt Cornflakes, why can’t the rest of the world’s consumers have them too?”