Salt is in almost all of your favorite foods and, if it’s not, there is a good chance there is a salt shaker nearby that will help change that. However, with growing concerns about how high-levels of sodium can be detrimental to our health, many of us are looking to cut back on our sodium intake.  Focusing on the food production and baking side of things, here are some tips for understanding sodium and what you can do to reduce usage and intake in your products.

Salt is 40% sodium 60% chloride based on weight, and it does more than simply make your french fries taste better, it is also one of the world’s oldest preservatives, it adds texture and tenderizes cured meats, and even controls fermentation of our favorite baked goods. Yet, even with all of the benefits of salt, studies have shown that high-sodium diets have been associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. To give an idea of how this salt craze has gotten out of control, the USDA says we should intake no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily and the average American takes in roughly 4,000 milligrams – nearly double the daily maximum.

With this high level of salt usage in America, what are real ways that we can, as food producers, really make changes to how we make food and educate consumers? Here are a few sodium reduction tips that will go a long way.

Understand Where the Salt Comes From: Just because salt isn’t in the list of ingredients doesn’t mean that it isn’t in the product. Any meat and many vegetables have sodium in them naturally. This should be factored in to whether or not you decide to add any additional sodium into the recipe.

Know the Labels: This goes both for consumers and producers, understand what labels are on products. Sodium Free contains 5 mg of sodium or less, Very Low Sodium contains 35 mg or less, Low Sodium contains 140 mg or less, Reduced Sodium means the product’s usual level of sodium is reduced by 25% or more, and Unsalted or No Salt Added means it may contain sodium but none was added.

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Know Your Alternatives: There are ways to reduce sodium levels in a product that doesn’t necessarily change the flavor of the product like adding potassium chloride or other flavor alternatives. Even soy sauce, while it has sodium in it, there is less sodium than there is in natural salt. You can also simply reduce the amount of salt used in a recipe – while this may change the flavor of the recipe but you might find that you can reduce sodium by a large amount without really sacrificing taste.

All of these things will help you reduce sodium intake, and help in making products that are healthier for your customers.

Consider low sodium or salt alternatives like Cargill’s SaltWise system which can reduce sodium levels between 25 and 50 percent, while still giving your foods great flavor and salty taste.

We also have a full selection of Cargill products in their FlakeSelect™ line that you can use to maintain the full salt flavor but reduce the actual level of sodium. The FlakeSelect™ portfolio includes a FlakeSelect™ KCI/Potassium Chloride, FlakeSelect™ KCI/Salt, FlakeSelect™ KCI/Sea Salt and FlakeSelect™ Salt.

We have various types of food-grade chemicals, and in the future we will be profiling them individually in order to give food processors and beverage and bottling professionals a better understanding of each. Starting with Potassium Sorbate

Potassium Sorbate or E202, as it is sometimes seen on ingredient labels, is a food-grade chemical often used in the beverage industry to increase shelf life. This preservative is derived from the salts of sorbic acid mixed with potassium hydroxide, making it very water soluble with the intended purpose of killing off yeasts and reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses.

For the beverage industry, potassium sorbate is often seen as a preservative to fight off microbial growth that occurs often in dairy and bottled products. Another way potassium sorbate can be used in bottling is in the fermentation of wine. Once fermentation of the wine is complete, there still remains a fair level of yeast that can further turn sugars into alcohol – however, with potassium sorbate, winemakers are able finalize fermentation while inhibiting the yeast from any renewed fermentation. This allows the wine to age without changing the flavor profile of the wine. Potassium sorbate is most often used in the wine processing for sweet wines that need the sugars to remain in the flavor.

As a food-grade chemical, potassium sorbate is an incredibly safe product, with little known allergic reactions and a very stable shelf life. The preservative has no taste or affect on the flavor or smell of products it is used on. It is also one of the most common and safest food preservatives in the beverage and bottling industry for ensuring shelf life of products.

Potassium sorbate is available in a powder form and is ready for delivery to your facility. Contact Us Today for a quote on potassium sorbate or other food-grade chemicals.

Please let us know if you have any other preservatives or food products you’d like for us to profile.