Although most Americans still consume too much sodium each day, more than half (52 percent) told Mintel, Chicago, that they are paying more attention to the issue and monitoring their dietary intake.

Meanwhile, food product introductions containing a low, no or reduced sodium claim have increased by nearly 115 percent from 2005 to 2008, according to Mintel's Global New Products Database. Mintel says the tide is turning because of consumer awareness and continued push from public health organizations and consumer advocacy groups.

"Rapidly rising evidence in the past several years points out sodium as a major cause of hypertension, osteoporosis, kidney damage and stomach cancer," says David Lockwood, Mintel director of consumer insights. "Because of this scientific knowledge mixed with that of global health activists, there is a climate forming for rapid change. We are starting to see this information set into motion with a reduction of sodium on packaged goods and restaurant menus."

Mintel shared four additional consumer insights:

-22 percent restrict the amount of salt they add to food but don't watch the much greater amount of sodium already in foods and beverages.

-18 percentsay that "food and beverages low in sodium are one of the three most important components of a healthy diet."

-26 percent read labels for sodium and may make some decisions based on this info but they are not following a regimen to control sodium in their diets.

-34 percentto not pay attention to sodium.