Salt of the Earth lowers sodium in trending meat alternative products

By Adi Menayang contact

- Last updated on GMT

Salt of the Earth lowers sodium in trending meat alternative products
With the growing popularity of plant-based meat alternatives, Israel-based Salt of the Earth tested its sodium reduction ingredient to add umami to such products.

Collaborating with its customers, Salt of the Earth​’s R&D department yielded a 25-35% sodium reduction across a variety of vegan and vegetarian products using its Mediterranean vegetable umami extract, which combines sea salt with tomato concentrates, mushroom and seaweed extracts using a proprietary process.

The company will be displaying dishes prepared using this ingredient at the IFT show in Las Vegas next week.

“Formulating meat-alternatives is complex—it takes multiple technologies to replicate authentic flavors and textures,”​ according to the company. “To counter common off flavors from plant protein, it is common to add a significant amount of salt—1.2-2.5%—plus spices and flavors.”

Salt of the Earth claimed that formulating meat substitutes using its Mediterranean Umami ingredient enables food manufacturers to meet hot demands such as clean label, plant-based, and rich in umami flavor, with a significant reduction of salt.

An uptick in meat substitute demand

Many products within the meat alternative category, including refrigerated meatless nuggets, strips, and cutlets, experienced triple-digit growth in the natural channel in the year to June 12, 2016, according to market data by SPINS​. Additionally, frozen meatless grounds were up 55% and frozen meatless meatball were up 15%.

Globally, there is increased consumer concern over sustainability and the global food chain, and vegan and vegetarian lifestyles are filtering into the mainstream​. Data from Innova Market Insights revealed that the US market recorded a growth of 8.7% CAGR in meat substitute product launches in the period between 2011 and 2016.

The plant-based meat category has garnered attention beyond start-ups—food industry giants such as Unilever, Givaudan, and Ingredion joined Wageningen University researchers​ in the Plant Meat Matters consortium earlier this year to research shear-cell technology, which transforms vegetable protein into a layered, fibrous structure that closely resembles steak. The first products are expected to hit shelves in 2019.

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