Need for salt reduction ‘not always obvious’ to processed meat industry

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

Need for salt reduction ‘not always obvious’ to processed meat industry

Related tags: Salt reduction, Sodium chloride, Salt, Sodium

Processed meat is the second biggest contributor to salt in European diets, but many manufacturers are still uncertain about why they should adopt a salt reduction strategy, according to AkzoNobel business development manager Matthijs Bults.

In a webinar hosted by AkzoNobel and Givaudan​, Bults said that reducing salt in meat can affect yield, texture and water binding, as well as taste, so processed meat companies may be hesitant to make changes to their existing formulations. However, with processed meat providing about 15% of the sodium in an average European diet, the industry is under increasing pressure to cut salt.

This has been highlighted by the World Health Organisation’s recommendation that people should eat no more than 5 g of salt per day for optimum heart health, as opposed to the current average of about 9 g per day.

“Today our diets consist mainly of processed foods,”​ said Bults. “…And don’t only think of ready meals and pizza. Bread, meat and cheese take the major share.”

Indeed, bread contributes a third of the total average sodium consumption in the European Union – not because it is necessarily the saltiest product, but because it is a staple that most people consume nearly every day. However, processed meat is usually very salty.

“Salt reduction is really a complex topic and a major challenge for product developers in the industry,”​ he said, adding that while governments and public health advocates are convinced of the industry’s need to reduce salt in their products, “it is not always obvious to people in the food industry”.

“We are a salt company, and we know that salt is essential for life. Salt is not a dangerous product,”​ he said. “…Our body needs it, but not too much.”

AkzoNobel and Givaudan partnered in April​ to develop and market a salt reduction ingredient for processed meat, branded Suprasel OneGrain TS-M100.

Touted as a one-to-one salt replacer for up to 40% salt reduction, the product is a combination of sodium chloride, potassium chloride and flavour in every grain, which the companies say allows it to taste, flow, blend and dissolve in exactly the same way as ordinary salt.

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