Ingredients and flavours supplier Synergy has developed a range of natural bread aromas designed to capture artisan bakery qualities in products with a reduced salt content.
The aromas, made from a mixture of natural ingredients, also allow for the cost-efficient production of bread without compromising on taste, said the company.
Steven Morgan, Synergy's managing director, told BakeryandSnacks.com that a key quality customers seek is the aroma that comes when you break open a fresh loaf of bread.
"One of the toughest challenges for industrial bakers is to produce baked goods on a large scale that look, taste and feel like they were produced in craft bakery," said. Morgan
"Add to that the salt reduction targets set by the FSA [UK Food Standards Agency], and spiralling raw material and production costs and the obstacles are clear. Bakers need easy-to-use taste solutions that offer excellent end results."
The FSA's targets for 2010 say products should have a 1 per cent salt content, but bread typically contains 1.2g per 100g.
While attempts to reduce salt have stepped up across the industry as pressure mounts on manufacturers to provide healthier products, bakers face particular challenges because of the important functionality of salt in the products as well as its effect on taste.
However, Synergy's aromas allow for formulations with up to 20 per cent reduction in salt by enhancing the taste, said the company.
The range can be applied to a wide range of bread products, from flatbread to crusty loafs to soda farls. However, Morgan said the company can also work with customers to find individual solutions.
The company said, when used in conjunction with its Saporesse low sodium lactic yeast and natural flavouring, the bread aromas can also replace the desirable long fermenting flavour, which is often lost in the Chorleywood process.
This process uses low protein wheat and chemical improvers to work the dough at a high speed, thereby reducing the fermentation process and translating into time and money savings.
Synergy's Saporesse lactic yeast extract range was originally launched in 2000 to help more manufacturers cut their salt content. It has recently extended the range for application in a wider variety of products.
Numerous scientists are convinced high salt intake is responsible for increasing blood pressure (hypertension), a major risk factor for CVD, which causes almost 50 per cent of deaths in Europe.
Although sodium is useful in food production and is also an essential mineral, governments have been leading salt reduction initiatives in light of concerns about the effects of excess salt (sodium chloride) on health and about the amount of salt in processed foods.
The FSA recommends a limit of 6g of salt per day for the general population, and less for children.
Barbara Gallani, manager of the UK Food and Drink Federation's Biscuit, Cake, Chocolate and Confectionery section (BCCC) said earlier this year that many UK biscuit and cake products have reached their salt-reduction limit, thanks to bakers' efforts to cut salt components.
There have been overall reductions of between 16 and 50 per cent since February 2006 in some of the most popular brands of cakes and biscuits, she said.