Salt for Life

Nu-Tek’s low-salt ingredient revolution gets ‘consumerised’

Americans can now buy ‘Salt for Life’, a table-top version of much-publicised Nu-Tek Salt, a range of salt replacement ingredients that contain 70% less sodium than traditional salt. Unlike salt replacers of the past, Nu-Tek’s salt actually tastes like the real thing. [Click pic to enlarge]

According to Nu-Tek president and COO Don Mower, 10 of the top 13 food producers in the world have started incorporating Nu-Tek’s advanced formula potassium chloride (one of its salt replacement products) into meats and other items since its launch in 2010.

Potassium chloride has been employed as a salt substitute in certain situations in the past, but relatively sparingly. Because it has a metallic taste, it can only be used in small amounts and then has to be mixed with other substances that mask its flavours. Manufacturers typically dry mix it with other ingredients or loosely bind it to other materials.

Nu-Tek’s innovation revolves around binding potassium chloride with an organic acid in a unified crystal to ensure uniformity of flavour. Another added bonus: Nu-Tek’s formula is compatible with existing equipment and manufacturing processes.

“We have taken a logical path on how we have developed the technology and put it in the marketplace. First, we wanted to establish ourselves in the marketplace as a good ingredient, so we’re available for food applications in processed meats, bakery, dairy, and cheese,” says Mower. “The next logical step is a product for service operators and consumers that uses the same technology in a way that’s more consumer-friendly.”

While Salt for Life will probably appeal to people who are actively trying to keep their salt intake down, Mower envisions the product appealing to a more general market in the future – emulating how sugar replacers are now used by people who don’t have diabetes or high blood sugar. The big difference: Salt for Life tastes more realistic than most sugar replacers.

Americans consume about 3400mg of sodium a day, far higher than the recommended 2300 to 1500mg. A report in the British Medical Journal argued that reducing sodium remains one of the most cost-effective ways to improve global health, second only to getting people to stop smoking.

Cutting down on sodium, however, is challenging because of its prevalence in processed meats, cereals, baked good, snacks etc.

By contrast, we only get about 1/3 of the daily 1400 milligram of potassium. While too much sodium is associated with cardiovascular problems, too little potassium can have the same effect, so potassium chloride has a double benefit.

“We have to get serious about getting sodium out of processed foods,” notes Mower. “With our formula, you can reduce sodium by 35 to 50 percent.”

“The whole paradigm on the importance of nutrition in food is really having a dramatic shift with consumers,” he adds. “I think that will spawn more and more food companies and more and more startup companies to look to technology to address some of these issues.”

On the issue of industrial applications of Nu-Tek, Mower says the trends is for food producers not to talk about it – replacement by stealth because consumers assume less sodium means less taste.

“Nu-Tek’s customers generally do not advertise that they have reduced the salt in their products because low-salt foods have often earned a bad reputation with consumers.”

Sources: Fast Company; Forbes