Industry has been under pressure to reduce the amount of sodium in its products as scientific evidence has repeatedly linked excessive sodium consumption to increased risk of high blood pressure, a common precursor to heart disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that packaged foods account for 77 percent of US sodium intake.
Sodium has also come under scrutiny during the current review of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, spurring further industry action. One option under consideration is a reduction in the recommended maximum intake level from 2,300mg per day to 1,500mg per day. This lower limit is already recommended for certain groups considered to be at increased risk of heart disease, including those with high blood pressure, blacks, and those middle-aged or older – groups that now represent nearly 70 percent of the American population.
Associate director of business development and application innovation at Ajinomoto Joseph Formanek told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “We are trying to really meet what the government is driving for. We understand that perhaps consumers are not looking for sodium reduction but there’s a possibility that salt could be regulated by government…It’s a very hot topic. We try to address those trends.”
Ajinomoto’s new ingredient system is called Salt Answer RX-AX, and the company says it has spent two years developing application systems using Salt Answer to deliver salt-like taste in processed food products.
How it works
“We want to be at the forefront with the technology we develop,” Formanek said. “With Salt Answer you can fool the tongue into thinking there is more salt. This product delivers bitter, sour, sweet and umami.”
He explained that when it is added to a low level of salt, these other taste elements help to accentuate salty flavor.
“It can be used with straight salt or with salt blends,” he said. “Trying to replace salt on a one to one basis is simply not possible. But this gives you a very nice match.” Formanek added that as it is used at a low level, it can be used very cost effectively compared to a lot of other sodium reduction materials on the market.
Salt Answer has been developed for use in snack seasonings, soups, sauces, gravies, dips and broths.