Substantial salt reduction without loss of taste

Monday, 09 November, 2009

Scientists at Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN) have announced a technology that enables up to 25% salt reduction in food products without loss of taste and without sodium substitutes, or taste or aroma additives. This new technology is an enormous breakthrough in the quest to reduce sodium intake in the general population.

“We believe our findings represent a significant breakthrough in the battle to reduce salt intake in the general population,” says Prof Rob Hamer, Scientific Director. “It is not an easy task for the food industry to reduce salt, because there is no real alternative for salt as a tastant. This new technology will enable the food industry to lower the salt content of many products.”

Smart salt distribution
This innovative technology is the result of new insights into how consumers perceive the salt taste. Developed by TIFN scientists in Wageningen, the Netherlands, this technology is based on smart salt distribution in a food product so that the taste of salt is boosted, thus allowing the amount of salt added to food products to be reduced. The smart salt distribution technology is particularly suitable for food products such as bread, sausage, cheese and snacks. TIFN scientists have shown that the same technology can also be applied to reducing sugar content of food products without loss of taste.

Importance of reducing salt intake
Almost all food products contain salt not only because of taste but also because salt plays an important role in food texture and food preservation. Foods consumed daily such as bread, meat and meat products, cheese and ready meals and snacks contain high concentrations of salt and contribute up to 70% of daily salt intake. A high-salt intake is a significant risk factor for developing high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. The average daily salt intake is estimated to be 10 to 12 g, whereas the WHO recommendation is less than 5 g per day in order to prevent chronic diseases. A substantial reduction in salt intake would prevent 5.2 million incidents of cardiovascular disease a year, half of which are fatal, according to experts from World Action on Salt and Health.

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