Labels that highlight lower sodium mean very specific, very different things. Here's a guide.
When food companies make sodium claims, they have to follow labeling rules. For the consumer, the tricky part is that there are four claims. Two apply when a company is comparing their food to a loosely defined fully salted version. One refers to a specific sodium level, another to whether salt has been added. Bottom line: The amount of sodium per serving (found on the back label) is critical.
No salt is added during processing. This does not always mean sodium-free; some foods contain sodium naturally.
Land O' Lakes Unsalted Butter (0mg)
Land O' Lakes Salted Butter (95mg)
Sodium Savings: 95mg per 1 tablespoon
Must contain at least 25% less than the original food, a competitor's product, or another reference.
Kikkoman Less Sodium Soy Sauce (575mg)
Kikkoman Soy Sauce (920mg)
Sodium Savings: 345mg per 1 tablespoon
Must contain 50% less than the original food, a competitor's product, or another reference.
Lay's Lightly Salted Potato Chips (85mg)
Lay's Classic Potato Chips (180mg)
Sodium Savings: 95mg per 1 ounce