Replacing MSG: Salt of the Earth solution transforms ranch dressing

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05 Jul 2018 --- Salt of the Earth, Ltd., has successfully replaced monosodium glutamate (MSG) in ranch dressing with Mediterranean Umami, an all-natural sodium-reduction ingredient based on vegetable extracts and sea salt. Mediterranean Umami keeps the “craveable” flavor of ranch dressing, without MSG, while reducing sodium at the same time.

Ranch dressing is one of the most popular salad dressings and dipping sauces in the US, yet previous efforts to replace MSG in this classic salad dressing and dip have been unsuccessful until now, according to Salt of the Earth. The company completed multiple trials of ranch dressing formulations with and without Mediterranean Umami. These trials conclusively demonstrated the ability to maintain the authentic flavor of ranch dressing but with 30 percent less sodium, and without using MSG or yeast extracts. 

“We worked intensively to crack the code of MSG’s unique flavor contribution to traditional ranch dressing formulations,” explains David Hart, Business Unit Director for Salt of the Earth. Click to Enlarge

“The main challenge was to get that ‘craveable’ flavor ranch is known for, without MSG. Mediterranean Umami is similar to MSG in its ability to boost taste, and it does give the umami flavor consumers crave,” he notes.

“Our application lab and food technologist are always in action and work in close collaboration with our partners and customers to develop solutions that are relevant for the market. It can sometimes take months to fine-tuning to arrive at the optimal recipe,” Hart tells FoodIngredientsFirst

“There is a significant demand for a natural and clean-label alternative to MSG. In many Western countries, MSG use has fallen out of fashion, but especially in Asia, where umami is an important flavor component and MSG use is still common, food companies are looking for alternatives as the market moves towards more natural and clean-label products,” he notes.  

“Sodium reduction is important in most parts of the world, as companies adjust to meet regulatory requirements or their own internal nutrition standards. With that said, we are talking about food, which first-and-foremost has to taste great. There are multiple avenues to reduce sodium, and Mediterranean Umami provides an important tool for food manufacturers to reduce sodium without compromising on taste,” he claims. 

“Chinese restaurant syndrome” is a term coined in the 1960s referring to a group of symptoms some people claim to experience after eating foods made with MSG, a common ingredient in Chinese cooking. Today, it’s known as MSG Symptom Complex. These symptoms often include headaches, skin flushing and sweating. Many consumers claim to suffer such side effects from MSG ingestion and avoid the ingredient. This gives MSG a strongly negative perception. “Being a completely natural combination of vegetable extracts and sea salt, Mediterranean Umami does not trigger side-effects and is a clean-label product evoking no negative consumer reactions,” says Hart.

It is important to note that the notion of the existence of MSG Syndrome has constantly been challenged and debated, however. 

Registered Dietitian and a food technologist, Chef Osher Eidelman will be presenting dishes with and without Mediterranean Umami at the Salt of the Earth/A&B Ingredients Inc. joint booth at the IFT Expo in Chicago this month.

By Elizabeth Green

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