General Mills Tues­day said it’s made ma­jor prog­ress on its long-term goal of so­dium re­duc­tion, cut­ting salt by 20 percent in seven of 10 key U.S. prod­uct cate­go­ries.

The Golden Valley-based pack­aged food com­pany did best in sa­vor­y snacks, cut­ting so­dium by 35 percent from 2008 to 2015. It was weak­est in ce­re­al, re­duc­ing salt by 18 percent.

Two oth­er cate­go­ries didn’t meet Mills’ 20 percent goal: soup and ­Mexi­can din­ners (both had 19 percent re­duc­tions). Salt was cut re­spec­tive­ly by 29 percent, 24 percent and 21 percent in fro­zen piz­za, bak­ing mix­es and din­ner mix­es.

“We are re­al­ly proud of the prog­ress we’ve made,” said Maha Tahiri, General Mills’ chief health and ­well­ness of­fi­cer.

General Mills pub­lic­ly stat­ed in 2010 that it planned to re­duce so­dium by 20 percent by 2015, using 2008 as its base­line year. The ef­fort has ­en­com­passed 350 pro­ducts, which to­gether con­sti­tute one-third of the com­pany’s U.S. re­tail sales vol­ume.

Under pres­sure from con­sum­ers and health ad­vo­cates, pack­aged food com­panies in re­cent years have been re­duc­ing salt, sug­ar and fat. Re­for­mu­lat­ing pro­ducts isn’t easy, and can take months or even years to ac­com­plish. If ingredient tin­ker­ing al­ters a prod­uct’s taste — the main driv­er of food pur­chas­es — con­sum­ers could turn away.

“Health im­prove­ments are only suc­cess­ful if they are suc­cess­ful with our con­sum­ers,” Tahiri said.

To mask the re­duc­tion of salt, General Mills add­ed spices to some pro­ducts and moved so­dium around in oth­ers.

For in­stance, in Chex ce­re­al, while salt was re­duced, the salt with­in was es­sen­tial­ly moved to the sur­face so that it could make an im­me­di­ate im­pact on taste.