American Bakers Association backs 'potassium salt' petition: It sounds more clean label

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Research shows that consumers believe 'potassium salt' is ‘more appetizing,’ ‘less processed,’ ‘safer,’ and ‘healthier’ than ‘chemical-sounding' potassium chloride, says NuTek Food Science
Research shows that consumers believe 'potassium salt' is ‘more appetizing,’ ‘less processed,’ ‘safer,’ and ‘healthier’ than ‘chemical-sounding' potassium chloride, says NuTek Food Science

Related tags Potassium chloride Sodium chloride

The American Bakers Association (ABA) has joined the CSPI, Unilever, and other food manufacturers in voicing its support for a citizen’s petition asking the FDA to permit ‘potassium salt’ as an alternate name for potassium chloride on food labels, while the Salt Institute remains resolutely opposed.

Petitioner NuTek Food Science - which has patented technology to tackle the metallic aftertaste of potassium chloride, a popular salt replacer – argues​ that using the term ‘potassium salt’ would ‘demystify’ the ingredient for consumers and help the industry achieve the government’s dual goals of lowering sodium and increasing potassium intakes.

Survey data shows that consumers believe potassium salt to be ‘more appetizing,’ ‘less processed,’ ‘safer to consume,’ and ‘healthier’ than the ‘chemical-sounding' potassium chloride, said NuTek president Brian Boor.

A statistically significant number of consumers lack familiarity with the term potassium chloride and often mis-associate it with chlorine or other chemicals... ‘Potassium salt’ more closely reflects reasonable consumer expectations of the ingredient and more accurately describes the basic nature of the ingredient.”

ABA: Potassium chloride is integral to sodium reduction efforts, but name puts shoppers off

In comments​ filed with the FDA, the ABA noted that potassium chloride “is a mineral that is mined from natural deposits in the earth, in a similar manner as sodium chloride (salt) is mined​,” and is “integral​” to industry sodium reduction efforts.

However, it added: “The word ‘chloride’ is confusing to consumers as it sounds like chlorine and therefore has a chemical connotation. We know that the chloride ion in potassium chloride or sodium chloride has none of the properties of chlorine, and therefore this is potentially misleading to consumers.

“The name ‘potassium salt’ as proposed in this petition avoids this confusion while appropriately and accurately describing the ingredient in terms that are understandable and recognizable to consumers.”

Read the comments on the NuTek petition HERE​.

(To date, the CSPI, Unilever, the ABA, Westin Foods, Monogram Foods, and FDMR have backed the petition, while the Salt Institute opposes it (click HERE​). An anonymous commentator has also opposed it on the grounds that it was self-interested and potentially confusing to consumers (click HERE​).

Read the comments on the FDA's voluntary sodium reduction targets HERE​.

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1 comment


Posted by Prof. Héctor A. Iglesias PhD, CFS,

Chemists have spent lives trying to identify the different substances, and given the apropiate name, recognized by the IUPAC. It maust be very ease to lawyers ignore this circumstance, but a potassium salt may be any salt, not necessarily the chloride one. The simple reaction of Potassium hydroxide and any acid, will deliver a potassium salt plus wáter. This is elementay Chemistry learned at high school. Furthemore the name will be misleading for the customer which will not know which salt is it.

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