As part of an overall initiative to provide healthier options for guests, Boston Market today announced that salt shakers have been removed from tables inside all 476 locations. Boston Market also announced a commitment to reduce sodium levels in signature items by 20 percent and to reduce sodium in the company’s menu items by 15 percent by the end of 2014.
In the dining room, guests can still add salt to their food, but they will now need to leave the table to find a shaker, a change aimed at encouraging diners to taste their food before reaching for the salt. Salt shakers will now be available at a central condiment station. In the kitchen, Boston Market will work with research and quality assurance teams to find ways to reduce sodium in the restaurant’s signature rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese by 20 percent over the next six months, without sacrificing flavor. On average, Boston Market sells 48 million servings of its signature rotisserie chicken, 24 million servings of its mashed potatoes, and 21.6 million servings of its macaroni and cheese each year.
The effort to address sodium at Boston Market is the latest step in a series of menu modifications that began nearly two years ago. In October 2010, the company began a rollout of several enhancements, including reducing sodium in Boston Market’s signature rotisserie chicken by 20 percent and dropping sodium in the restaurant’s poultry gravy by 50 percent. Since 2011, the chain has also offered guests lighter options on a menu of Meals Under 550 Calories, which offers more than 100 combinations of protein-packed entrees and fresh vegetables. Boston Market Research & Development teams are continually focused on improving the company’s current food options while considering future product innovations and nutrient fortifications.
“As a consumer myself, I too have seen the headlines about the impact sodium can have on our health,” said George Michel, CEO, Boston Market. “By removing salt shakers from Boston Market tables, we hope to raise awareness of salt intake, without completely eliminating the option, to those who dine in our restaurants. Today, we are publicly committing to further reduce sodium from menu items while still delivering the great taste for which Boston Market is known.”
Today’s announcements also underscore Boston Market’s commitment as the first restaurant company to become a national strategic partner with the USDA’s MyPlate program, an initiative designed to help consumers make better food choices by illustrating the five food groups in a familiar visual, a place setting. At ChooseMyPlate.gov, consumers can find practical information and tips to build healthier diets, including balancing calories, which foods to avoid, and which foods to increase. As a national strategic partner, Boston Market will support the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the mission of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
Next year, Boston Market will explore additional sodium reductions and other nutritional improvements to soups, sandwiches and salads.
“Beyond our 2014 commitments, we recognize that the salt content of our soups and sandwiches needs attention as well,” said Sara Bittorf, chief brand officer, Boston Market. “This announcement and the announcements to follow are a promise to our guests to deliver wholesome foods they can feel good about sharing with their families.”
Guests will notice the removal of salt shakers from tables immediately, and Boston Market will work to roll out reduced-sodium menu items in the coming months to ensure the promise to meet the 2014 deadline is kept.
“By improving the nutritional quality of our food, we hope to raise awareness around making balanced choices,” said Bittorf. “At Boston Market, we believe it’s possible to have great tasting food options that fit with a healthy lifestyle, while leaving room for the occasional indulgence.”
For additional nutritional information, visit www.bostonmarket.com.