Salt Substitutes for Convenience Foods

Salt use dates back to prehistoric times, emerging from Egyptian, Chinese, and Roman civilizations, where they extracted it from seawater or brine through sun evaporation. Considered a “sacred mineral” by some cultures, it was used for flavoring, preserving, as a trading commodity, and in religious rites.
The mineral remains an indispensable ingredient to satisfy our fundamental craving for salty flavors. Critically, sodium chloride is essential for human life and health, playing a vital role in maintaining muscle and nerve function, controlling blood pressure and volume, and helping regulate fluids.
Simultaneously, modern eating habits, convenience foods, and food production methods have resulted in a surplus of salt in our diets, leading to unwelcome consequences. According to the World Health Organization, adults consume more than double the recommended daily sodium – around 11g versus less than 5g1. The phenomenon affects almost all populations.
This overconsumption of salt has raised blood pressure and increased the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, kidney disease, gastric cancers, osteoporosis, Meniere’s disease, and around 1.9 million deaths annually2.
Why Is Less Salt Better?
The WHO estimates a minimum $12 return on every $1 invested in salt-reduction interventions3. It identified a reduction in salt intake as one of the most cost-effective ways to address the non-communicable disease burden and improve health.
As a result, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set voluntary sodium-content goals to help reduce the average daily intake by 12%4. They further propose amendments to the standards of identity (SOIs) to allow salt substitutes. This rule change would provide manufacturers the flexibility to innovate for change to limit the use of sodium. The initiative is part of the current administration’s national hunger, nutrition, and health strategy.
However, what are salt analogs, and how might they impact manufacturers like you?
What Are Salt Substitutes?
No-sodium salt substitutes include potassium chloride, nutritional yeast extract, seaweed, and sodium-free spices and herbs such as thyme, parsley, sage, celery, rosemary, cilantro, garlic oil, and onion powder. In addition, a splash of lemon or lime can add a tantalizing zing. Other low sodium alternatives are marsh samphire “Green Salt,” monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sodium malate.
While compounds such as potassium chloride taste much like salt, there can be a bitter aftertaste. Hence, these replacements are often combined with lower amounts of salt to reduce sodium levels. In contrast, herbs and spices can be pleasingly brackish, tangy, and flavorful, adding natural depth and sensation to savory dishes and products.
How Does This Affect You?
The FDA’s proposed rule will allow manufacturers to use “safe and suitable salt substitutes” in all foods, including standardized foods such as milk, bread, and sauces. The updated SOI proscribes required and optional ingredients and possibly their formulations, proportions, and production methods. The change may help producers achieve the FDA’s 2021 short-term sodium reduction goals if accepted.
So, review your ingredients and flavor profiles to accommodate lower sodium while retaining your signature tastes and aromas and meeting consumer demand for cleaner, more natural ingredients and labels.
Where to Find Pure and Natural Salt Replacements
Transform sodium-based convenience foods, culinary products, and innovations into healthier variants without compromising flavor and appeal. Trust Advanced Biotech’s pure and natural range of taste and odor ingredients, such as extracts and aromatics, to add dimension. Each plant-based and EU-certified option is fully documented and available as a sample before committing. Please contact us for more information.