Tate & Lyle
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Sodium & sugar reduction: Is Mediterranean Umami an answer?

Given increased regulatory pressure and consumer demand around the world, sugar and salt reduction are both hot topics. Israeli company, Salt of the Earth believes it has an ingredient that can do both.

The recently implemented tax on sugary drinks in SA, the UK etc and related widespread formulation changes and new product development, are good examples of industry response to regulations targeting sugar.

However, most food companies have struggled to use only natural solutions to reduce sugar in their products. Salt of the Earth believes its Mediterranean Umami is also effective for sugar reduction.

The all-natural, clean-label ingredient for savoury flavour enhancement can answer both demands for tasty, clean-label foods with both lower sodium and less sugar, according to the company.

Mediterranean Umami, an ingredient rich in plant-based umami flavour compounds, can significantly reduce both salt and sugar at the same time. The all-natural flavour enhancer allows:

  • Up to 45 percent reduction in sodium
  • Up to 25 percent reduction in sugar

Primary applications for this dual-solution ingredient are savoury sauces with high sugar content, such as ketchup, BBQ sauce, cocktail sauce, Thousand Island dressing, chutneys, pizza/pasta sauces and a variety of sauces for ready-to-eat meals (RTEs).

While these products are, at their core savoury, they typically contain a surprisingly high level of sugar – in some formulations, up to 10-25 percent of the product.

“Consumers use sauces or condiments in nearly every meal,” says David Hart of Salt of the Earth. “These products can increase our daily sodium and sugar intake. For example, ketchup provides up to one teaspoon of sugar per one tablespoon of product.

“Mediterranean Umami is an easy-to-use solution that naturally enhances the flavours of these sauces while reducing salt and sugar content dramatically.”

Salt of the Earth conducted some successful trials on several sauces with high sugar and salt content. In a standard ketchup recipe, Mediterranean Umami was able to reduce sodium by 30 percent and sugar by 25 percent while maintaining an identical organoleptic profile.

Exceptional organoleptic results were found in Thousand Island dressing, where the trials showed a 26 percent reduction in sodium and 25 percent reduction in sugar.

Outside of the addition of the Mediterranean Umami solution, no other major reformulation or high-intensity sweeteners were used to achieve the results, claims Hart.

“We all want to eat better-for-you products, with less sugar and salt, but it is really hard to achieve this target using only natural ingredients,” explains Hart.

“Many R&D and product-development programs are zeroing in on sugar reduction, but the real challenge is to keep the great, sweet-savoury taste consumers crave in a flavourful sauce. Mediterranean Umami provides a clean-label solution for significant reductions in sugar and salt.”

Mediterranean Umami is a unique blend of simple, consumer-friendly ingredients including natural vegetable extracts and sea-salt. Its umami flavour boosts the product’s natural taste and can be used for significant reduction of salt and sugar.

It is available in South Africa via local agent WCA Life Science Services. Contact Steven Levy, MD, at 082 652 4700.

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