Turkey lags behind Western Europe when it comes to salt reduction, but has an openness that makes it ripe for bakers to introduce innovative technologies, according to Leatherhead Food Research.
Following Fi Istanbul held in Turkey last week, Leatherhead’s business innovation manager Steve Osborn said there was a real need to introduce innovative salt reduction strategies to the country’s bakery sector.
Compared to markets like the UK that had seen plenty of salt reduction innovation over the past few years, Turkey had seen little, Osborn told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“There’s a lag, if you like, in the implementation of salt reduction technologies. And there’s a lag in general terms of local innovation.”
“They are at an earlier phase of adoption than the UK, for example, and a much earlier stage of recognition that they have a high salt consumption,” he said.
Research from the University of Cambridge and Harvard School of Public Health published last year in the BMJ Open found that countries lying along the old Silk Road – from East Asia, through Central Asia to Eastern Europe and the Middle East – had the highest sodium consumption levels in the world.
Turkey not sceptical about innovation
However, Osborn said that Turkey was “absolutely ripe for innovation” which was fitting given their need as a country for salt reduction.
“There’s a real opportunity for the bakery and snacks sector to innovate and educate, as well as adopt some of the good, established salt reduction philosophies that have become commonplace in Western Europe,” he said.
Osborn said that emerging markets, like the MINT nations (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey), were more accepting of new innovation and “less sceptical” than their Western European counterparts. “There’s no reason why new technology wouldn’t be adopted.”
It was this acceptance of innovation on an industry and consumer level, he said, that was crucial to long-term, successful salt reduction.
Additives and e-numbers still a concern
However, he pointed out that the country did still have its reserves on additives and e-numbers, much like Western Europe.
“There’s a lot of misinformation that has gone around about additives and e-numbers. So anyone introducing technologies to the market would need to have a clear communicated message about health and the use of alternative ingredients to make sure there’s not misinterpretation,” he said.