Scientists at Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN) have found a way to reduce salt in food products by 25 percent without losing 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.”
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 new technology is based on a smart salt distribution in a food product so that the taste of salt is boosted, 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 preservation. Foods consumed daily such as bread, meat and meat products, cheese, ready made meals and snacks contain high concentrations of salt and contribute up to 70 percent 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 grams (.35 to .42 oz), whereas the recommendation from the World Health Organization is less than 5 grams (.18 oz) 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 & Health.
About Top Institute of Food and Nutrition
TIFN research focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of the processes and mechanisms that keep the human body functioning and the interaction between food nutrients and the body at the molecular level. A key area of research is to gain insight into changes in microstructures and effects on food structure and taste perception.
This is directed at developing food ingredients and production processes designed to reduce salt and sugar content in food products, while maintaining consumer taste perceptions. The institute operates as a partnership of research institutes and food companies for research on food and nutrition.
For more information, email Christine Veraat, PR and communication manager, TI Food and Nutrition.
This post is a reprint of an article that appeared in Food for Thought, a newsletter from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency that reports on agrofood activities and advances within the Netherlands.