One nice thing about science is that observations on cause and effect can often be linked to one another. A case in point is the market study out this week which reported that the sales of potato chips have increased dramatically since our economy began to tank. According to the international market firm, Mintel , potato chip sales jumped a whopping 22% from 2007 to 2009. Analysts went on to forecast that as the economy improves potato chip sales will begin to taper off.
No surprise here. The near collapse of our economy has induced levels of consumer stress that have not been seen for decades . Psychological stress is characterized in the human body by high levels of circulating hormone, cortisol - also referred to as the "stress hormone ". Science has shown, both in animal models and in humans, that high levels of salt consumption are very effective in reducing levels of circulating cortisol .
Call them comfort foods or mood stabilizers, potato chips and other salty snacks are incredibly effective at reducing stress, a common condition in today's ever-changing world. The Mintel market report dramatically demonstrates the nutritional value of salt in coping with stress. Consumers know what to eat, they're just not sure why.