Spotlight on salt (Part 2): Overcoming reformulation challenges

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15 Feb 2018 --- A large challenge for all salt replacer products is the clean label trend. Consumers are demanding that only products should be used which are available in their own kitchen cupboard. Most of the salt replacers use potassium chloride to replace the sodium chloride, but potassium chloride has not the image to be an ingredient from the kitchen cupboard. Looking at the nutritional value of potassium chloride it is clearly beneficial to use it instead of sodium chloride as most consumers have a lack of potassium in their diet while eating too much sodium. As a result of this also the WHO recommends increasing the potassium intake in the daily diet while reducing the sodium intake. In the second part of our "Spotlight on Salt" report, we look at how reformulation challenges can be overcome. You can read Part 1 of this report here.

Marie Tolkemit, Junior Product Manager of Specialties at Jungbunzlaur says that the company receives requests for sodium reduction in several steps, with their sub4salt product proving to be a useful solution amid the trend. “In the first step, they just cut the used salt up to 20 percent. As the most products start with a quite high salt level, most of the consumers will not detect this first reduction step.”Click to Enlarge
 
“But if companies want to reduce in a second step more sodium the challenges start. The problem is that with a further reduction, next to a detectable lower saltiness, technical issues will occur. Why is that? Salt has various functions in foods as preservation, stabilization of color and providing texture. At this point in the development, the use of our salt replacer sub4salt will help to reduce the sodium content by up to 50 percent at this step, while keeping the salty taste and maintaining the functionality of the product. sub4salt is very easy to handle as it can be used as 1:1 replacement for salt,” she explains to FoodIngredientsFirst.
 
Potassium chloride has a bitter off-taste and has to be combined with flavoring agents which cover this off-taste. “We use sodium gluconate as a masking agent in our salt replacer sub4salt. Sodium gluconate is the salt of gluconic acid, which is naturally fermented from corn. The name sodium gluconate is very uncommon to consumers and even if it is a very natural product it sounds very chemical for them.”
 
A large task for the food industry and the consumer organizations will be to educate consumers about ingredients and their functionality. Of course, the ingredients from customers’ cupboards seem to be the best as they are well-known to customers. But if they would understand that the use of a salt replacer could positively influence their health they would choose this option. 
Lycored is constantly looking for new solutions that maximize value for their customers. “One area we’ve been exploring recently is ways we can help manufacturers of tomato sauces and condiments such as ketchup increase their yield. We’ll shortly be publishing research that shows how our LycoFibers and Dry Tomato Pulp can increase viscosity and reduce the volume of liquid tomato paste needed,” Christiane Lippert, Head of Marketing at Lycored explains.
 
“Our role is to help product developers meet the needs of consumers. In addition to sodium reduction, the other big trend in our industry is clean label. Seven in ten (69 percent) consumers worldwide believe that foods without artificial ingredients are always healthier and over half (52 percent) believe products with fewer ingredients are healthier. We help meet that demand by offering manufacturers natural real food ingredients that allow them to clean up their labels,” she notes.
 
“People are always on the hunt for exotic new ingredients but you don’t need to look much further than the humble tomato for sodium reduction solutions. The secret of SANTE – our natural taste enhancer –  lies in its high levels of naturally occurring glutamate in our specially bred tomatoes, alongside other amino and organic acids.  This allows it to deliver umami and kokumi even with low sodium content and without the help of MSG,” Lippert adds.
 
SANTE is ideal for use in soups, sauces, marinades and ready meals. In its powdered form it can also be applied as part of a seasoning mix for products such as potato chips and extruded snacks, and in spice blends for meat products.
 
For Salt of the Earth, Mediterranean Umami is an all-natural and clean label ingredient for sodium reduction and savory flavor enhancement and is a very innovative ingredient. “It harnesses the power of natural plant extracts rich in umami flavor compounds to reduce sodium up to 45 percent. This novel approach and the relevant solution was recognized at the previous Institute of Food Technologists conference (IFT), where Mediterranean Umami was awarded an IFT17 Innovation Award,” David Hart, Business Unit Director, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.Click to Enlarge
 
“We are finding significant interest in our Mediterranean Umami, which is a relatively new approach, for sodium reduction and savory flavor enhancement using plant extracts rich in umami flavor compounds,” he notes. “We are in an intensive market development phase with Mediterranean Umami and have seen very high interest in the countries where we have appointed distributors: UK, Belgium, Netherlands, United States and China. We are looking to expand our distribution network to additional countries.”
 
Ready meals, soups and sauces and a range of processed meats and meat-analogs are the main applications where Salt of the Earth is seeing interest from their customers. “This ranges from a desire to create healthier products (less salt/sodium) as well as a move towards savory flavor enhancement with clean-label ingredients, replacing MSG, yeast-extracts and other flavor enhancers. In addition to sodium reduction, a new trend we are seeing is the use of our Mediterranean Umami to create ‘craveable’ products; products with a bold umami flavor boost,” Hart concludes.
 
By Elizabeth Green

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