Juiciness key to salt reduction in sausages

Thursday, 13 December, 2012

Salt reduction is particularly important in processed meat products, which are a major contributor to the high salt intake in the modern Western diet. Researchers at NIZO, in the framework of the Top Institute Food and Nutrition, have found that by influencing the juiciness of processed meat products, a salt reduction of 15% or more can be achieved while retaining the same salt perception.

The researchers have tested this in sausages that vary in salt level and serum release but not in firmness. By changing the structure but not the firmness, the amount of serum that can be released could be modulated.

A trained QDA (quantitative descriptive analysis) panel rated the saltiness, firmness and juiciness of sausages with a low and high serum release at three salt levels. The sensorial scores for saltiness showed that sausages with a high serum release were perceived significantly saltier than those with little serum release.

The perceived juiciness is the result of the amount of serum that is pushed out of the meat matrix while chewing and the ability of the tissue to bind water, which is affected by the salt content. The observed increase in salt perception, as a result of increased juiciness, was largest at the lowest salt level.

According to Fred van de Velde, senior scientist and project manager, this strategy will help industry develop healthier foods.

“We have already developed innovative clean label solutions for the reduction of salt in bread, cheese and meat while retaining a good taste. These include natural salt enhancers, enhancement through inhomogeneous distribution and recently the enhancement by serum release,” van de Velde said.

“With this technology a salt reduction of at least 15% and possibly 40% can be achieved.”

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