The Solo brand low sodium sea salt claims to allow firms to reduce the salt content of their products, without sacrificing taste or functionality.
Developed by UK-based firm The Low Sodium Sea Salt Company, the product is a sodium-reduced, magnesium enriched sea salt containing sodium, potassium and magnesium. It contains 60 percent less sodium than ordinary salt and can be used to replace it on a 1:1 basis, said the firm, which claims it has become the "preferred option" of UK food manufacturers looking to reduce sodium.
The ingredient will now also become available in the US, distributed by Nexcel Natural Ingredients, based in Springfield, Illinois.
"Because of strong interest within the US food manufacturing trade to reduce sodium content within processed foods, we felt the timing was perfect to bring our Solo sodium reduction solution to the food processors within the US Partnering with Nexcel Natural Ingredients at this time will enable us to hit the ground running," said Leslie Wilson, managing director and founder of The Low Sodium Sea Salt Company.
The product claims to dissolve faster than ordinary salt and to deliver "special benefits" to the bakery, meat processing and snack food industries.
Salt is one of the hardest ingredients to replace due to its functionality and its flavor enhancing qualities. It performs numerous essential functions in processing, including binding and extending shelf-life.
But excess sodium has been shown to increase the chance of developing hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. These health concerns are resulting in mounting pressure on food makers to replace the ingredient.
Indeed, in June last year, the American Medical Association (AMA) said it would urge the government to revoke the substance's GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status.
And according to the AMA, most Americans consume two to three times the amount of sodium that is healthy, with an estimated 75 to 80 percent of the daily intake of sodium coming from processed and restaurant foods.
The association currently recommends limiting salt intake to 2,300mg per day. And according to the US regulatory agency Food And Drug Administration (FDA), foods that can be considered 'healthy' must contain less than 480mg sodium per serving.
The nation's doctors are now calling for the development of regulatory measures to limit sodium in foods. They have placed a target of a minimum 50 percent reduction in the amount of sodium in processed foods, fast food products and restaurant meals to be achieved over the next decade.
So far the battle against salt has remained voluntary. Nevertheless, many food makers, such as Campbell and General Mills-owned Progresso, have moved in response to growing consumer and health body concerns.