DSM Develops Sodium Reduction Toolbox Amid Low Salt Drive

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13 Mar 2013 --- DSM’s salt reduction toolbox allows manufacturers to reduce sodium in their savory products by up to 50% without losing taste or mouthfeel. Marking this year’s World Salt Awareness Week, the toolbox is based on a unique five step approach that enables manufacturers to choose from a comprehensive portfolio of natural taste enhancers to develop foods that meet global sodium reduction targets and deliver the delicious flavor consumers demand.

Frank Meijer, Global Product Application Development Manager at DSM told FoodIngredientsFirst, “When it comes to the market for low sodium products, we’re looking at a wide variety of segments. Overall, there’s always been a focus on ‘traditional’ culinary food applications, such as soups, sauces and dressings, but also convenience foods, such as ready-made-meals. Over the last few years many of these products were already reduced in sodium to some extent.”

“Nevertheless, these applications are still high on agenda for the majority of food manufacturers as sodium levels are often still not fully meeting the requirement with respect to sodium reduction targets. For the last steps in reaching the sodium targets it seems to be the most difficult with regards to maintaining a good flavor.”

In terms of innovation, he claimed that most likely the meat and bakery industry have a stronger need. “They have found it the most difficult to adapt low sodium solutions to their products. For these industries it’s not only flavor that is important, but also microbiological safety, texture, yield, and cost management need to be considered. More and more reduced sodium meat products can be found, but particularly the bakery sector is finding it hard to formulate low sodium foods. Removal or even the reduction of salt not only affects the flavor, but also the appearance of the product. In the future, we expect to see a lot more innovations in these industries as consumer demand for healthy foods increases,” Meijer added.

DSM’s sodium reduction toolbox includes a broad selection of 100% natural yeast extracts and process flavors to help manufacturers build unique and specific tastes for their product. Depending on the type of product and the salt reduction target, each of the ingredients in the toolbox can be added on its own or combined in five easy steps, which will enhance saltiness, restore the umami, add salty taste and achieve a homemade meat or vegetable flavor.

By activating taste receptors, particularly umami, in the mouth and throat, yeast extract-based flavorings can help compensate for the taste losses that are usually associated with salt reduction. Tests have also demonstrated that 60% of consumers preferred the combination of sodium reduced tomato sauce when combined with DSM yeast extracts, claiming that it tasted less sour and had a richer, more authentic taste than the full salt version.

Rich in natural free glutamate, Gistex HUM LS strengthens bouillon notes and enhances the umami character in soups, meat and fish products. Maxarome Pure and Maxarome Select contain highly neutral taste-enhancing nucleotides to provide a lingering salty taste in milder culinary flavored products, while Multirome LS contains less salt and requires only a third of the dose than other basic yeast extracts to deliver a long-lasting and well-balanced umami taste in soups, crisps and dressings. When paired with Maxavor YE All Natural and the Maxagusto range of all natural process flavors, these ingredients can deliver authentic and intense chicken, beef, roast and vegetable flavors in a wide variety of low sodium applications. All the ingredients in DSM’s low sodium toolbox are 100% natural, Kosher and Halal certified, offering a natural and effective way of reducing sodium without compromising on taste.

Meijer noted that traditionally, food manufacturers have found it relatively difficult to sell low sodium products. Reduction of sodium was often clearly communicated to the consumer. The skepticism towards low sodium or sodium reduced foods derives from the fact that, in the past, these products did not meet consumer expectation in regards to flavor and/or texture. Back then both consumers and technology were not ready to support the change, maintaining the taste standard that consumers were used to.

For Meijer, “Compromise on taste is not an option and the term low sodium and natural on the package is not enough to convince consumers to buy the product. Now market studies demonstrate that reduced sodium content is rarely communicated on the table. Many food producers did launch reformulated recipes containing less salt, with the focus on maintaining a preferred flavor.”

“Overall, consumers have become a lot more inquisitive about what’s in their food and food manufacturers have started to look for natural ingredients. Our yeast extracts and natural flavors have a natural fit with this demand. In the end it is up to the food producers to adapt their communication to their marketing concepts.”

He noted that established brands are struggling to find ingredients that can imitate the flavor profile of their full sodium version to the extent that it becomes acceptable to the consumer. “Loyal users of these brands have high expectations and are less willing to accept differences in taste or texture. Minimizing the risk of losing business is very important. On the other hand, newly developed food formulations are often easily accepted and even preferred by consumers. The snack and culinary product manufacturers are a good example of that,” he added.

Meijer revealed that a lot of DSM’s customers are telling them that they are feeling slightly overwhelmed by the amount of products that are available on the market. “Smaller companies in particular are struggling to understand the interactions between all the different ingredients within a product and often require advice on finding the best ingredient combination for their application,” he concluded. The company is working closely with all our customers to provide expert advice on optimal ingredient combinations and achieving the right dosage to minimize costs and develop great tasting products. Eventually, these products will be able to speak for themselves when it comes to making sodium reduced foods more attractive to the consumer, he noted.

The latest poll www.FoodIngredientsFirst.com asks, “Is the ingredients industry offering enough solutions to reduce the sodium content of foods?”

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