Ungerer offers savoury flavours + salt reduction
salt-replacers by bundling its salt-reduction technology in with a
new range of savoury flavours based on UnSal20 salt enhancer
Salt reduction is a major theme in the food industry, as companies are under pressure to reduce the amount of salt in products. This is part of an effort to bring consumption to below 6g per day (adults) and help reduce the risk of hypertension. The UK has been particularly active in its salt reduction campaign, with the Food Standards Agency in the midst of a major campaign to raise awareness amongst consumers. The US is also understood to be making moves in this direction, and Australia unveiled its salt reduction campaign this week. A recent survey from the UK's Food and Drink Federation (FDF) found that members reformulated £7.4bn worth of products to have lower levels of salt in 2006, while £2.4bn worth of products were launched with lower salt variants. But there remain challenges to salt reduction, most notably the need to ensure that products still taste good. Nick Price, senior flavourist at Ungerer, told FoodNavigator.com that the trend also presents food formulators with cost issues, since salt is cheap but alternatives replacing it tend to be more expensive. For instance, the company's original products using its UnSal20 Salt Enhancer system, launched in 2005, come in at a higher price point. The proprietary technology is said to make salt taste saltier, allowing for a 20 per cent reduction in the amount used. Price said that where 1g is normally used (a "high but typical" amount for Western manufacturers), just 0.8g would be required for the same taste profile. But Ungerer is now extending its UnSal line with a range of flavours that are based on the same proprietary technology - that is, the salt reduction capability is rolled in with the flavour. This presents a cost solution to the customer. "If you can afford flavours, you can afford this," said Price. The company is rolling out an initial seven UnSal 20 flavours: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, mushroom, tomato and vegetable, which it is inviting potential customers to evaluate. More are expected to be added throughout the year. The flavours are suitable for use in soups, sauces, meat products, ready meals, gravies, and other dehydrated foods. Moreover, they are free from artificial ingredients or declarable additives, meeting clean label requirements, and are also suitable for organic and vegetarian products. UK group Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH) says shoppers should not buy products that contain either more than 1.25g of salt (0.5g of sodium) per 100g or more than 2.4g of salt per serving. "If we halve our salt intake, ie make a reduction of 6g/day from the current intake of 10-12g, we will save approximately 70,000 people from developing strokes and heart attacks each year, 35,000 of which are fatal," said CASH chairman Graham MacGregor. Last week CASH hit out at soup manufacturers in the UK, after a survey found that almost 50 per cent of commercial soups do not meet targets for salt levels. In response Julian Hunt, FDF director of communications said, "The food industry has done a fantastic job in reducing the levels of salt in soup - something CASH does recognize. In fact since 2003, manufacturers have achieved a 25 per cent reduction in soups, and industry is committed to working with the FSA towards its 2010 target. "Additionally, a large number of manufacturers are now putting Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) information on the front of packs which clearly shows people the amount of salt in that product. GDA labels now feature on the front of over 15,000 product lines, amounting to 50% of UK retail food and drink packs."