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Salt’s sensory aspects to drive successful low-sodium food: Scientist

By Stephen Daniells, 12-Jul-2011

Related topics: Flavors and colors, Preservatives and acidulants, R&D, Sodium reduction

Understanding the sensorial aspects of salt with sensory science will help food manufacturers achieve success with reduced sodium foods, says a scientist from the Monell Chemical Senses Center.

Speaking with FoodNavigator-USA at the recent IFT Annual Meeting and Food Expo, Monell’s Dr Leslie Stein explained that salt doesn’t just impart a salty taste to food it also enhances mouthful and makes food taste 'rounder', and decreases bitter off-tastes.

“We need to understand that, in looking for salt enhancers or salt replacers, we need to find something that is going to perform all the functions of salt,” said Dr Stein.

“First of all, we need to look for something that imparts a salty taste, and we’ve made some progress in that over the past couple of years.”

Dr Stein added that discovery of the epithelial sodium channel or ENaC is responsible for part of the sodium tasting but there is another component that is “totally unknown at this point”.

“We need to have a good understanding of all the physiological mechanisms in order to help developers come up with enhancers and formulations that are going to assist them in making their reduced sodium foods highly acceptable to the consumer.”