Salt-Reduction Strategies ‘Mushroom’
Although there is still debate regarding the health concerns caused by consuming too much salt, new sources for salt alternatives—as well as novel technologies and approaches—continue to increase. This is not surprising with today’s food formulators focusing attention on finding—and employing successfully—new salt-reduction strategies.
At one time, these strategies were limited to potassium chloride mixtures and spice blends. A little later, sea salt and technologies that altered the size and shape of salt particles emerged into the spotlight. But the options for salt reduction continue to expand.
For example, a new hydrolyzed vegetable protein that provides low sodium but high flavor enhancement was introduced by Innova, a Griffith Laboratories Co. (booth 2529). The company claims this HVP is the first product of its kind to lower sodium while maintaining the desirable flavor that food companies and consumers have come to expect from an HVP.
Here are a few other examples of products that are shaping the evolution of salt reduction that are showcased at the 2012 Food Expo.
What has been described as a breakthrough technology for sodium reduction has been developed by AkzoNobel Salt Specialties (booths 2885, 1641). The technology, Suprasel Loso OneGrain, can achieve up to 50% sodium reduction by combining regular salt, mineral salt, and taste-enhancing flavors in single salt grains. According to the company, the technology offers a direct, one-to-one replacement for regular salt with products that look, taste, flow, blend, dissolve, and cook exactly the same way as salt.
Because of its salt-enhancing characteristics, whey permeate can reduce sodium. U.S. Dairy Export Council (booth 1458), demonstrates this approach in several prototypes, including a Crispy Protein Cracker.
A range of functional milk proteins from Arla Food Ingredients (booth 467), also can be used as a dairy-based salt-reduction strategy. According to Arla, its Nutrilac® proteins make it possible for food manufacturers to reduce the salt content of their processed cheese products by up to 65%. Because these proteins offer excellent emulsification properties, they can replace the emulsifying salts normally used to achieve a stable texture in spreadable, block, and sliceable processed cheeses, as well as cheese sauce products.
Sodium reduction is not a “one size fits all” effort, explains Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings (booth 2401). Each product has its own ingredients, sensory qualities, and performance needs, all of which product developers have to take into account. Consequently, the company uses what it calls an integrated systems approach to sodium reduction by looking at the whole product from concept to finished product, customizing the sodium reduction solution and working cross functionally. One example is the newly introduced Micron Salt ingredient, a blend of ultra-small crystals made by micropulverizing salt to a patented particle size that has three times more surface area per volume than salt. The ingredient can be used in oil slurries, snacks, and other topical applications where fine texture and dispersion are desired.
“Not all sodium reduction alternatives are created equal, and in this new age for sodium reduction, the choice of ingredients and how they are blended matters in providing the best taste properties,” according to the Scoular Co. (booth 1807). The company is highlighting its SmartSalt® ingredient, described as a co-crystalized triple mineral salt (a blend of potassium, sodium, and magnesium. It is said to provide 100% salt taste with up to 60% less sodium in a number of applications.
Morton Salt (booth 2559), is unveiling the newest addition to its line of sodium reduction solutions. Because of its fine particle size, Fine KaliSel Potassium Chloride can offer a new option for blending with salt. Applications include seasonings, snacks, and other topical applications. Also offered is a granulated form of KaliSel for use in the production of meats, soups, sauces, snacks, dairy products, prepared meals, sides, breads, and other baked goods. Attendees can visit Morton’s “Salt Inspiration Station” to learn more about this specialty product.
And what more literal sign of the “mushrooming” of salt-reduction strategies than the use of mushrooms as a source? Research shows that while mushroom extracts serve as a base for soups and sauces, they can also be used as an effective salt-reduction tool. Scelta Mushrooms (booth 1741), notes that salt can be reduced in different products by up to 50% with a range of mushroom concentrates between 0.06% to 0.7%.