Fintan McConnell, Product Manager, discusses some of the options that are available to food producers who are looking to reduce salt in their products.
Consumers overall are now far more aware or on the lookout for sweet products that still have a great taste but with less sugar. The association of products with high amount of sugar and being unhealthy is now firmly lodged in the psyche of the consumer. It has become therefore common place for food manufactures to reformulate or to release new products that contain lower amounts of sugar combined with a sweetener. This has also been as a result of some governments implementing a sugar tax on soft drinks. Which in turn has created a knock effect on other traditionally high sugar brands to alter their products to contain less sugar.
The tide may be turning
Products containing high levels of salt on the other hand have largely avoided this issue to date. However, it is clear that the tide is starting to turn. It is evident with the UK governments recent National Food Strategy in which one of the key focal points was curbing promotions and placement at checkouts. This relates specifically to foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt. As we previously reported, in practice this means that UK supermarkets can no longer have multi-buy offers or unhealthy products near checkouts. This includes food items such as crisps, salty snacks, sweets and biscuits. The drive to reduce salt intake is due to health concerns, a diet high in salt can lead to health issues such as high blood pressure and in turn cardiovascular disease.
According to the UK government, cardiovascular disease causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK and is the largest cause of premature mortality in deprived areas. To clarify, the reduction of salt in food by governments is not a new challenge for food manufacturers. Consumer awareness on the other hand has increased, meaning that products that are perceived as not only healthier but that have added benefits are sought out. In addition, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set targets for member states to ”reduce the global population’s intake of salt by a relative 30% by 2025.” The WHO states that the average person presently consumes between 9-12 grams of salt a day which is twice the recommend amount, 5 grams. In layman’s terms this means approximately just under a teaspoon of salt per day.
What are the options?
So, what are the options for food producers that currently have products that contain high levels of salt? Reducing the salt in their products is one approach however consumers may look elsewhere for brands that still retain a full flavour. Below we list a few solutions to reduce salt in food products.
One option is to use Potassium Chloride either combined with lower amounts of salt or simply on its own. Doing so can reduce the levels of salt in a product by up to 50%. In addition, Potassium Chloride has added health benefits, it can assist in regulating blood pressure levels, it helps nerve transmission and cardiovascular health among other positive attributes. In fact, it is even listed by the World Health Organisation as an essential medicine.
Lactic Based Flavour Modulators
Another option to reduce salt levels is using Lactic Based Flavour Modulators, this approach can reduce salt by up to 50%. Providing a salty or savoury taste profile that has a particularly clean after taste. On packaging it can be listed as a natural flavouring.
If salt is used in a product to help improve shelf life, for example cold cut meats or smoked fish, then Rosemary Extract can be a very solid option. Rosemary does this by keeping the stability of oils such as omega 3 which can turn rancid relatively quickly.
Can we assist?
At NCC Food ingredients we work directly with food producers from reformulation right through to new product development. From replacing salt, through to innovative vegan food products we can assist. We have the experience and expertise to provide guidance when it comes to getting your product consumer ready.
NCC Food ingredients are an award-winning sourcing provider of functional and innovative ingredients. We recently won Ingredients Supplier of the Year. Our customer base ranges from international producers of foods and beverages to small niche artisan creators of fine foods. If you would like to know more about NCC’s full range of salt reduction solutions, then simply fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch.