Sodium is the new fat — meaning it's receiving increased attention for its effects on human health. Consequently, sodium in food is getting a more stringent look.

Stepping out early, ConAgra Foods' officials have announced that the company is cutting sodium levels in several of its brands, including Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Kid Cuisine and Marie Callender's products.

"Over the past several years, we have focused our efforts on improving the nutritional profile of many of our foods," says Al Bolles, ConAgra's executive vice president of research, quality and innovation. "This focus enabled us to reduce sodium by 15 percent to 20 percent in many products without compromising great taste."

The company also is investing in new technologies that allow the even more reductions in sodium levels throughout its product portfolio.