Spanish market holds promise for salt replacement

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Europe, Flavor, Spain

UK-based Alexander Foods has entered into an agreement with Exquim S.A. to distribute its salt replacement product in Spain in what it says is its first step into the wider European market.

Although Spain has not traditionally been at the forefront of the movement toward salt reduction, the company says that the timing of the introduction has been fortuitous, as the Spanish government has started to become more vocal about the need to cut the ingredient. There was a particular drive to slash salt consumption levels at the third NAOS Conference (Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prevention of Obesity) held in Spain this March, in which attendees’ attention was drawn to the “strong evidence for the link between salt and health.”

Director of Alexander Foods Richard Scotney told FoodNavigator.com: “They are a few years behind [the UK] but with this latest move from the government it seems to have woken people up to it and manufacturers are looking to move into this area.”

Natural or organic

Exquim S.A., part of the Ferrer Grupo, will be distributing Alexander Foods’ SaltRite ingredient, a potassium chloride-based salt replacer containing a natural flavour enhancer that is also manufactured by the company.

Scotney said that the product can be used to reduce sodium by up to 50 percent and, “because everyone is interested in natural these days”, ​it can be listed on product labels as ‘potassium chloride and natural flavour’. Moreover, he said that the company has developed an organic version that has been recognised by the UK’s principal organic certifier, the Soil Association.

SaltRite was launched for tabletop use, as well as for manufactured food products, in the UK last year but this is the first time it has been distributed in continental Europe.

The lure of Spain

Apart from the Spanish government’s move to reduce salt in citizens’ diets, Scotney said that Spain’s draw for many large companies also helps provide a promising market.

“Within Spain, there is quite a number of global players, like PepsiCo for example, who are looking to reduce sodium globally…And there is a major biscuit company in Spain too that’s looking to reduce sodium.”

Scotney added that the company’s long-term plan is to extend availability of its salt replacement ingredient – as well as those it produces for fat and sugar replacement – throughout Europe, and he claims that the company has already seen interest from manufacturers in Portugal, Turkey and Norway.

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