Vegetable concentrate provides clean label sodium reduction

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sodium reduction, Flavor

Diana Naturals has developed a new vegetable concentrate blend which it says can reduce sodium and enhance flavor in savory applications, including soups, sauces and seasonings.

Sodium reduction has become a key objective for food companies as consumers have become increasingly concerned about the health implications of a high-sodium diet. Despite high demand, food manufacturers face challenges in reformulating their products to reduce sodium while retaining consumer acceptability of flavor.

Sav’Up, made from a blend of tomato juice, pumpkin and carrot concentrates, enables manufacturers to reduce sodium by up to 25 percent, while also enhancing savory, or ‘umami’, flavors, claims Diana Naturals.

The company said its new ingredient addresses three goals: Sodium reduction; flavor enhancement; and clean label declaration.

Savory market director at Diana Naturals Celine Berger told “We want to provide our customers with natural sodium reduction products to provide them with very clean labels – more clean label than minerals like potassium chloride.”

Glutamic acid

She explained that the company looked for vegetables that contain naturally high levels of glutamic acid – an amino acid known to enhance savory flavors – and then sought to find the optimal time to harvest the vegetables in terms of their glutamic acid content. The resulting concentrate can then be used to reduce sodium, and to replace the much-maligned flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate.

Berger added that Sav’Up can be listed on a product label either as ‘vegetable blend’ or with each vegetable concentrate listed separately.

“We first started to develop it for wet applications,”​ she said, “But now, because of consumer demand, we also have a dry product available.”

Berger added that the company also provides a blend for meat-based applications that includes chicken extract, but this is not available in the United States due to export restrictions.

Sodium intake

It is estimated that Americans still get 70 to 80 percent of their sodium from packaged foods, rather than from salt added at the table.

At present, healthy US adults are advised to consume no more than 2,300mg of sodium each day, equivalent to about six grams or one teaspoon of salt. The effects of excessive salt consumption have been well-researched, including its contribution to heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.

However, despite these health impacts, Americans currently consume an average of about ten grams of salt each day – or two-thirds more than the government-recommended maximum.

Many other companies have put forward offerings for sodium reduction recently, including potassium chloride-based flavor systems from Bell Flavors and Fragrances, Redpoint Bio Corporation, Wild and Jungbunzlauer.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and the American Medical Association have been petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to change the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) status of salt since 2005. The FDA held a hearing in September 2007 but no action has yet been taken.

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