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Loblaw continues war against sodium by joining Melior program

Boulangerie St-Méthode and Hypo Délices also make commitments to reduce sodium in their food

Loblaw banners in Quebec have joined the Melior program – a provincial program that aims to provide consumers with healthier foods, including products with reduced sodium.

“Melior is receiving more and more recognition in the province. We felt it was a good vehicle to demonstrate to our consumers that we are following our mission, which is ‘live life well’,” says Anita Jarjour, senior director, corporate affairs and communications for Loblaw in Quebec.

Sobeys’ IGA banner in Quebec joined the Melior program in 2013.

As part of its commitment to the Melior program, Loblaw recently reduced sodium by 22% in 95 President's Choice products and developed 151 new control label products that respect Health Canada sodium levels requirements.

As well, last month Loblaw announced a plan to reduce sodium levels by 20% in 400 President's Choice products this year and in 2015. The program is including a focus on categories that have traditionally posed the greatest challenge for salt reduction, including sauces, dressings and bakery items.

In the Melior program – named after the Latin and French words for improvement - industry members sign voluntary charters of commitments toward nutritional progress. Launched in 2011, the Quebec program is based on a similar model in France and is believed to be the first initiative of its kind in North America.

Loblaw has committed that its Guiding Stars healthy food identification program will be introduced in Maxi and Maxi & Cie stores within the next two years. It’s now available in its Provigo, Provigo Le Marché and Loblaw stores

The retailer has also started a pilot program with an in-store nutritionist at its Provigo Le Marché store in Kirkland, in Montreal’s West Island. The nutritionist gives group presentations and personalized nutrition advice to consumers.

Melior aims to “enable consumers to eat healthier on a daily basis without it being a complicated or expensive endeavour,” says Melior director Annick Van Campenhout.

According to an Ipsos survey conducted for Melior in 2012, only 11% of respondents said they read food labels to check the sodium levels in the products they buy.

Boulangerie St-Méthode bakery and Hypo Délices, which creates ready-to-eat products such as muffins and lasagnas, have also joined the program.

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