New sodium reduction technology allows meat processors to cut the sodium content of their products by up to 50 per cent, according to its developer Nu-Tek.
The company’s new salt system for processed meats is said to add flavour and functionality similar to salt but with the potential for big cuts in sodium content. Nu-Tek has evaluated the process in ham and beef systems for flavor and functionality with the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Results showed that the sodium levels of deli ham slices could be reduced by 25 per cent without compromising flavour, said the company.
Meat naturally contains 50-70 mg sodium/100 g but when salt, in the form of sodium chloride, is added to processed meats that may rise by up to 30 times. This makes processed meats a leading contributor of sodium in processed foods. Salt typically contributes the most sodium in processed meats followed by phosphates and lactates.
Water holding capacity
”Nu-Tek's low sodium salt provides as good if not better water holding capacity and fat emulsifying capacity than salt (sodium chloride) in a ground beef system,” claims the company. The study shows that typical Potassium Chloride (KCl) does not function as well as Nu-Tek salt, it added.
Product developers have been trying to reduce sodium in processed meats for some time. Sodium adds to the flavour of processed meats and certain functional benefits which include preservation, emulsification, tenderness and juiciness.
“If you are looking for an easy and economical solution to sodium reduction in processed meats, Nu-Tek's salt technology can help resolve flavour and functional issues,” said the company.
Salt is typically used to preserve meat, fish, and eggs by reducing the water activity of such foods to the point where not enough is available for the growth of pathogenic or spoilage organisms. Sodium chloride also enhances the hydration of proteins and the binding of proteins to each other and to fat which stabilises emulsions of ground meat mixed with fat.
Also salt activates meat proteins to bind more water molecules which increases the tenderness and juiciness of meats.
Nu-Tek Products, based in Minneapolis, develops and markets new technologies for the food and medical industries.