Salt of the Earth collaborates with Israeli students on seaweed sodium reduction and chickpea flavor enhancer
30 Sep 2021 --- A new partnership between sustainable sea-salt solutions producer Salt of the Earth and the Tel Hai College Institute, Israel, is tipped to accelerate salt reduction innovation and enhance flavors.
The collaboration also connects the academy and its students to the food industry.
Seaweed salt project
The goal of the first group’s project was to design a salt that is enhanced with seaweed to enrich the total mineral content. The main challenge was to neutralize the strong iodine flavor in seaweed and minimize the impact on color.
The students developed salt with two different species of seaweed that underwent a process of oil treatment and ethanol extraction.
The new seaweed salt demonstrates the students’ capabilities to develop innovative concepts that answer food trends and consumer needs.
Chickpea chips project
The goal of the second group’s project was to develop a savory vegan snack based on chickpeas. The main challenge was to attain a crunchy texture while meeting typical flavor expectations in the snack and eliminating any off-flavors from the chickpeas.
The students came up with a chip made from chickpea flour and other starches.
Mediterranean Umami Bold, the clean label, plant-based solution for flavor enhancement and sodium reduction, was incorporated into the application to reduce the salt and enhance the desired salty flavor.
“One of the biggest challenges was developing a product that was not only edible and functional but met sensory and technical goals set in the specifications set at the beginning of the project,” notes Dr. Ofir Benjamin devised the academic initiative, Ph.D., lecturer and researcher at Tel Hai College.
Connecting academia and food industry
Benjamin is also supported by Roee Weiser, vice president of business development of Sugar at Salt of The Earth.
Two groups were selected to participate in this program and work with Salt of the Earth. They were instructed to create innovative products with a focus on sodium reduction and flavor enhancement.
The students were guided by Rakefet Rosenblatt, R&D Technologist and Application Manager for Salt of The Earth.
“One of the goals of the collaboration is to establish a dialogue between academia and the food industry,” says Benjamin.
“This collaboration is a great opportunity for us to engage with students who have the desire and creativity to come up with great ideas,” adds Weiser. “The goal is to accelerate product innovation and highlight new challenges in producing better-for-you foods.”
Tel Hai College is part of the new foodTech ecosystem in Galilee. However, the partnership between Tel Hai College and Salt of The Earth extends beyond student projects. “We’re connecting with Tel Hai in multiple ways, such as testing our ingredients at their analytical lab,” explains Rosenblatt.
The food laboratory’s infrastructure provides advanced services to the industry and will grow significantly with the expected establishment of an international food institute created in collaboration with the MIGAL Research Institute.
Cleaning up ingredient labels
A spike in snacking during the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside excessive sodium consumption globally, has pushed up the salt-reduction agenda as an on-trend task for snack companies.
Low sodium-based launches have grown considerably in recent years as consumers want to know more about what is in the foods they purchase. They also seek simplified labels with ingredients they can understand and pronounce.
In June, Salt of the Earth zeroed in on lentil-based snack bites as an ideal application for its latest flavor-enhancing ingredient launch, Mediterranean Umami Bold. The versatile, clean label ingredient has multiple uses, including boosting savory flavors and reducing sodium up to 45% in various products.
This followed Salt of the Earth’s development of a clean label sodium-reducing umami powder for snack applications. Its plant-based ingredient is marketed as a “1:1 drop-in replacement” for salt, yielding a 40% reduction in sodium. When incorporated as an addition to a seasoning blend, it can then be applied to the snacks using dusting, tumbling, or oil slurry technologies.
Edited by Gaynor Selby
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