Tate & Lyle has developed several ‘ready-to-use recipes’ helping US firms slash sodium in bread, peanuts and microwave popcorn by using tiny salt ‘microspheres’ which deliver a disproportionately salty taste for their size by maximizing surface area relative to volume.
Several products containing Soda-Lo - which Tate & Lyle has just launched on a global basis - are now on sale in the US, said a spokesman.
However, he could not name names owing to confidentiality agreements.
It is not ideal for broths, drinks or cured meats
While Soda-Lo is particularly well-suited to topical applications such as potato chips, tests show it can help firms cut salt by 25-50% in a wide range of applications, he added.
He added: “Soda-Lo is ideally suited for food application systems in which water is immobilized by inherent solids, added starches or other hydrocolloids. It is not ideal for broths, drinks or cured meats.
“Tate & Lyle’s global network of application centers has been working with Soda-Lo to better understand how it functions in various food products in order to assist manufacturers.
“Tate & Lyle has been developing several ready-to-use recipes made with Soda-Lo including bread, peanuts and microwave popcorn and has conducted sensory testing on these products.”
Asked about price, he said: “Soda-Lo is cost competitive with other sodium replacement ingredients.”
Soda-Lo can be listed as ‘salt’ on food labels
Soda-Lo is engineered using a patent-pending process that re-crystallizes standard table salt to create free-flowing, microscopic hollow balls, which deliver an intense salty hit on the taste buds.
It also offers formulators a distinct advantage over other sodium reduction strategies as it can be listed as ‘salt’ on food labels, said Tate & Lyle, which will be showcasing the product at the Supply Side West show in Las Vegas next month.
Andy Hoffman, Director of Health and Wellness Innovation, Tate & Lyle, said: "Having a salt reduction alternative that’s made from real salt and delivers on that taste expectation could be the first step towards breaking that link in people’s minds that a low-salt product is a bland one."
Why small is beautiful
It is well-known that the smaller the crystals, the higher the salt perception. However, simply grinding salt to make the particles smaller does not deliver as the tiny particles quickly lose their free-flowing properties and stick together.
By contrast, Soda-Lo has been engineered using a patented process by its inventor Dr Stephen Minter that re-crystallizes salt to create free-flowing, microscopic hollow balls that at 5-10 microns are a fraction of the size of standard salt (c.200-500 microns).
Exclusive global tie up
In the UK, where Soda Lo was first introduced, the biggest successes have been in the bread and bakery sector, but extensive trials have also been conducted with cheese, vegetarian sausages, crisps, sauces, soups, breakfast cereals, muffins, pizza bases, rice snacks and bakery premixes.
The results in bread have been particularly encouraging, enabling plant bakers to cut salt by more than 80% without impacting volume, texture or weight and increase shelf-life as the tiny salt crystals cross-link gluten in dough more effectively, helping to lock in moisture.
Tate & Lyle licensed Soda-Lo from Eminate Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of The University of Nottingham, UK, to commercialize it globally. Under the license agreement, Tate & Lyle assumes responsibility for commercializing the technology on a global basis including manufacturing, product development, sales and marketing.