SUBSTITUTE PLAYERS STILL IN THE GAME

Salt substitutes and reduced-sodium salt are still performing well, despite the respect regular salt has gained recently, retailers told SN.perform well."The substitutes do well," said Tony Lucia, general manager of sales promotion and head buyer at Lunardi's Supermarkets, San Bruno, Calif. "They're equal in purchases to salt consumption in our stores."Substitutes sell best in markets that serve more

Salt substitutes and reduced-sodium salt are still performing well, despite the respect regular salt has gained recently, retailers told SN.

perform well.

"The substitutes do well," said Tony Lucia, general manager of sales promotion and head buyer at Lunardi's Supermarkets, San Bruno, Calif. "They're equal in purchases to salt consumption in our stores."

Substitutes sell best in markets that serve more affluent consumers, said Aaron Prevo, category manager at Prevo's Markets, Traverse City, Mich. Overall, consumers in such markets are more health-conscious, he said.

Salt substitutes accounted for over $30 million in food-store sales for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 9, 1995, a 1.5% increase over the same period a year earlier, according to ACNielsen, Schaumburg, Ill.

At Gordy's, Worthington, Minn., salt substitutes also sell well, said Scott Anderson, store director.

"They do well because of the doctors who tell people they have to be on a low-salt diet, not because they like it," he said.

Andy Briscoe, spokesman for The Salt Institute, Alexandria, Va., agrees. "There hasn't been any substitute that's been able to replace salt from a taste standpoint," he said.

Some manufacturers responded to the low marks substitutes received on taste by producing reduced-sodium salts.

"We introduced a low-sodium salt called Salt Sense in 1983," said Art Armstrong, director of grocery and food-service sales at Akzo Nobel, Clarks Summit, Pa. "We've seen continual growth in the product since 1983."

Like salt substitutes, Salt Sense sales are also on the rise. For the 52 weeks ending Dec. 9, 1995, Salt Sense accounted for $5.9 million in food-store sales, an increase of 4.2% over the same period a year earlier.