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Salt-Free Tables at Boston Market

The chain plans to cut salt from some of its menu items and remove the salt shaker from its tables, including its Marlborough location.

Salt-Free Tables at Boston Market Salt-Free Tables at Boston Market

The casual-dining chain, best-known for its spinning chicken rotisseries and its tasty but often-salty side dishes, is announcing plans today to remove salt shakers from guest tables at all 476 locations, including its Marlborough one on Route 20.

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, reported the BusinessWire.

Signs at tables — where salt shakers used to be — will explain the sodium-reducing effort and note that some shakers are still available at beverage stations, reported USA Today.

Pepper shakers will remain on the tables.

At the same time, the chain will unveil plans to reduce sodium levels in its three signature items — rotisserie chicken, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes — by 20% in the next six months.

Some sodium reductions on tap:

Rotisserie chicken (quarter white) goes from 710 to 568 mg.

Macaroni and cheese goes from 1,100 to 880 mg.

Mashed potatoes go from 820 to 607 mg.

Boston Market sells 48 million servings of rotisserie chicken, 24 million servings of mashed potatoes, and 21.6 million servings of macaroni and cheese each year.

CEO George Michel says Boston Market will reduce sodium levels by 15% menu-wide by the end of 2014. "It's time for us to focus on making our food better," he told USA TODAY.

It's already testing lower-sodium salads and sandwiches, he says. A new sandwich bread being tested has 50% less sodium.

To boost flavors in foods with less salt, Boston Market is adding garlic and herbs, Michel told USA TODAY.

Recently, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed there are 10 kinds of foods that make up 44 percent of all the sodium we eat each day, with 65 percent of that sodium coming from store-bought foods and 25 percent coming from restaurant foods.

That report showed that the average person's daily diet includes 3,300 milligrams of sodium, which doesn't even include added salt that you might sprinkle on top of a dish at the table.

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