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UK company targets North American market for sodium reduction

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 07-Apr-2010
Last updated the 07-Apr-2010 at 14:28 GMT

UK-based Alexander Foods has partnered with Canadian distributor Nealanders to provide its SaltRite salt replacement product to Canadian and US food manufacturers, the company has said.

Due to be launched in North America next month, SaltRite – a potassium chloride-based salt replacer containing a natural flavor enhancer that is also manufactured by the company – is already available throughout Europe.

Meanwhile, sodium reduction has become a hot topic for industry in the US and Canada, with regulatory bodies expressing concern about excessive consumption, which has been linked to increased risk of heart disease. The maximum recommended daily amount is 2,300mg of sodium a day, but the US Department of Agriculture estimates that the average American consumes about 4,000mg, with about 70 to 80 percent coming from processed foods. And Health Canada has set up a Sodium Working Group to set voluntary sodium reduction targets for industry, with the aim of reducing Canadians’ average sodium consumption by 30 percent by 2016, from about 3,400mg to 2,300mg per day.

Managing director of Alexander Foods Richard Scotney told FoodNavigator-USA.com that SaltRite provides a one-to-one replacement for sodium chloride, and can cut sodium by up to 50 percent, depending on the application. Nealanders would work with food manufacturers in North America to ensure they achieve the optimum result for each product.

“Nealanders have a health and wellness strategy and they want to use SaltRite to spearhead that,” he said. “They would really concentrate on Canada first.”

At first the ingredient would continue to be manufactured in the UK, but Scotney said that if necessary, “Nealanders has the capability to manufacture the product.

Although there are a number of other ingredients for sodium replacement available on the North American market, Scotney claims that what sets Alexander Foods’ SaltRite ingredient apart is that it brings together potassium chloride for saltiness with its own flavor technology, rather than relying on other ingredients firms.

“We have the saltiness that other people supply and we have the flavor technology that other people supply. But we do both ourselves,” he said.

The product would be labeled as ‘potassium chloride and natural flavouring’ in Canada, and ‘potassium chloride, natural flavoring’ in the United States, Scotney said. All flavorings are registered FEMA GRAS (generally recognized as safe) and Nealanders has received a letter of no objection from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that SaltRite’s ingredients are safe for consumption in Canada.

He added that although SaltRite is considered natural in Europe, the use of propylene glycol as a carrier for flavoring would not have allowed it to be labeled as natural in Canada. Alexander Foods therefore changed the flavor carrier for its North American version of the product.

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