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HPB aims to replace at least half of salt in market with lower-sodium alternatives, as hypertension rises in Singapore

SINGAPORE — Healthier salt and seasoning products will be made more readily available to consumers, as part of the authorities’ latest effort to tackle the rising sodium intake among residents here as the prevalence of hypertension in the population continues to soar through the years.

HPB aims to replace at least half of salt in market with lower-sodium alternatives, as hypertension rises in Singapore
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  • The Singapore health authorities are aiming to cut down the population's sodium intake by 15 per cent over the next five years
  • One key strategy is to replace half of the salt sold in the market with lower-sodium alternatives
  • Research shows that replacing regular salt and seasonings with lower-sodium variants results in a significant reduction in blood pressure
  • Currently, more than one in three people in Singapore are found to have hypertension, which has become more prevalent over the last decade

SINGAPORE — Healthier salt and seasoning products will be made more readily available to consumers, as part of the authorities’ latest effort to tackle the rising sodium intake among residents here as the prevalence of hypertension in the population continues to soar through the years.

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) targets to reduce sodium intake by 15 per cent in the next five years. Its deputy director for policy and strategy development Eunice Pang said on Monday (Sept 26) that the population here consumes almost double the recommended dietary limit.

In response to TODAY's queries, HPB said: “Over the next five years, HPB aims to grow the market share of lower-sodium salt aggressively to replace at least half of the current salt market, with the focus on encouraging the food service to switch to lower-sodium salt.” 

Currently, about 2 per cent of the market comprises lower-sodium salt.

About one in four of sauces and seasonings in the market are of the lower-sodium variant, while demand for such products — which “has been stable over the past five years” — is about one in five.

To expand the availability of the healthier variants, HPB is trying to get more suppliers to come onboard to offer lower-sodium salt in the market, including at more affordable price points.


The latest effort to combat excessive sodium intake was first mentioned in March by Ms Rahayu Mahzam, then Parliamentary Secretary for Health, during the Budget debate for the Ministry of Health.

“Singapore residents are on average consuming 3.6 grams of sodium a day. This is almost double that of the World Health Organization’s recommended limit, translating to more than 1.5 teaspoons of salt daily,” she said then.

From 2019 to 2020, 35.5 per cent of the adult population here had hypertension, up from 24.2 per cent in 2017, the 2020 National Population Health Survey had found.

In 2010, the prevalence of this health condition was 23 per cent, which led to the HPB declaring a "War on Salt" campaign the following year.

In Singapore, about 75 per cent of the sodium intake comes from “added” salt, sauces and seasonings, with the majority of the remaining portion coming from processed food.

HPB told TODAY: "The increase in sodium consumption could be due to increasing trends of eating out, including food deliveries."

The inverse is observed in other countries such as the United States of America and United Kingdom, where over 80 per cent of their sodium intake comes from processed food.

In line with this, the authorities are encouraging the replacement of salt, seasoning and sauces with lower-sodium alternatives as part of a three-pronged approach to tackle the sodium intake problem.

The first prong involves expanding the range of lower-sodium salt in the market, Ms Rahayu said in March.

Two other prongs in the strategy include “ramp up existing efforts using HIDS to spur reformulation of lower-sodium sauces and seasonings”, referring to the Healthier Ingredient Development Scheme, and stepping up public education.


On the strategy choice of salt replacement instead of salt reduction, HPB said: “Regular table salt contains about 40 per cent sodium, while lower-sodium salt, such as potassium salt, contains about 20 per cent sodium.

“Extensive research including clinical trials found that substituting regular salt with lower-sodium salt is associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure, which translates to a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.”

The board added that switching to the lower-sodium alternative is “a practical approach to cutting sodium without compromising on taste, while conferring health benefits”.

A four-week trial with two major caterers, NTWU Canteen and Sodexo, was conducted in 2021 where regular salt was replaced with the lower-sodium variant when preparing some meals.

More than 80 per cent of the consumers surveyed reported “no difference” when asked to compare between meals prepared using the different types of salt.


While offering better health benefits, lower-sodium salt varieties tend to be multiple times more expensive than regular ones.

An online check on major supermarket websites found that regular salt sold at under S$0.50 per 500g. In contrast, a 350g pack of lower-sodium salt is sold at about S$3.50.

Salt suppliers can tap HIDS to offset the production of lower-sodium salt and sauces, a grant introduced in 2017 to support the development of healthier food products.

HPB said that 10 suppliers have tapped the scheme for lower sodium salt, sauces and seasonings. 

Major supermarkets Sheng Siong and NTUC FairPrice will be introducing more affordable lower-sodium salt by early October.

One market player recently ramping up efforts to make healthier salt more affordable to the masses is IMI Lifestyle Products.

The company now sells a lower-sodium salt blend named GoodSalt at S$4.50 for a 350g pack. 

Recently, it introduced K-Salt, priced at S$2.50 for a 400g pack.

“Market response has been low so far as generally, as the public is still not aware of the full implications of current table salt intake and the benefits of potassium salt,” the company said via email.

“We (hope to) get better response when we run education campaigns on-site, like putting promoters in the supermarket.”


Besides regular salt, products marketed as "natural salt" such as Himalayan salt, sea salt and bamboo salt sold at premium prices are also a common sight in major marketplaces.

However, a dietician cautioned that the higher price tags do not necessarily confer better health benefits.

Dr Kalpana Bhaskaran, president of the Singapore Nutrition and Dietetics Association, said: “Bamboo salt and Himalayan pink salt contain higher amounts of potassium compared to table salt. But there is no significant difference in the sodium content between these varieties.”

Thus, replacing regular salt with these premium salt will not lead to “any risk reduction to hypertension or cardiovascular disease risk, as the sodium content of these salts is still similar to table salt”, she added.

Instead, she recommends potassium-based salt, which contains 30 per cent less sodium than other types of salt.

To ensure that one reaps the best health benefit by picking the right variant of salt, Dr Kalpana offered these practical advice for shoppers:

  • Choose lower sodium salt (potassium based) instead of regular table salt or other salts to reduce sodium intake by 30 per cent
  • Check for Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS) on the salt packaging
  • Choose sauces and seasoning with the HCS logo
  • If choosing an imported product without the HCS logo, check the sodium content on the nutritional information panel. Go for products which contain around 400mg/100g of the product.
  • Look for products that do not contain any added sodium
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Related topics

salt hypertension Health Promotion Board HPB Health

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