The German ingredients company launched SaltTrim in Europe in late 2007, two years after its debut in the United States, to allow manufacturers to replace as much as 45 per cent of the sodium in foods with potassium chloride without the sensory properties being marred by the mineral’s metallic taste.
But given the shift towards clean label products in Europe (without E-numbers in the ingredients list), the company also sought a sea salt that is naturally low in sodium but with a natural level of potassium chloride. While added potassium chloride has to be labelled as E508, the naturally occurring mineral does not.
Mark Austin, European sales director, savoury, told FoodNavigator that the company found the right sea salt about 14 months ago. It then turned its attention to applying SaltTrim to it to mask them metallic taste of potassium and boost the umami sensation, and optimising the manufacturing process.
The result is an ingredient called Sea SaltTrim and the aim, he said, is to “delivery salty perception with a natural label”. It can be labelled simply as ‘low sodium sea salt with natural flavouring’.
Some major manufacturers have been trialling Sea SaltTrim, and Austin said these have yielded good results in such diverse categories as bread, crisps, canned vegetables, ketchup, mayonnaise, seasonings, canned beans and cheese.
He added that it is “really, really robust”, as it withstands the rigours of processing.
Given the good results, the company is now making its new ingredient available to all food manufacturers.
Cheese on display
Although the clean label trend is bigger in Europe than in the US, interest in natural foods is also growing on the other side of the Atlantic. Wild is therefore making Sea SaltTrim available in that market as well.
Austin said that at the IFT trade show in Chicago this summer the company will be displaying cheeses with 30 per cent reduced sodium. Gouda and Edam cheese rounds are typically soaked in a brine solution, but Wild conducted a trial that compared cheeses soaked in a solution with 30 per cent less sodium with cheeses soaked in Sea SaltTrim.
The latter yielded a cheese that had the same taste characteristics as the regular brine-soaked cheese, Austin said.
Salt reduction targets
As a result of studies reporting a link between excessive sodium intake and higher risk of hypertension and stroke, campaigns are in swing across the EU to reduce population consumption levels. Much of the salt in the diet comes from processed foods, in which it performs functional roles – such as acting as a preservative – as well as working as a flavour enhancer.
The campaigns include setting targets for salt/sodium reduction across different categories of product.