Mediterranean Umami may help savory applications reduce sugar and sodium

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Magone
© Getty Images / Magone
Salt of the Earth’s Mediterranean Umami may allow simultaneous sodium and sugar reduction in clean label foods like savory sauces.

Company data showed that Israel-based Salt of the Earth’s ingredient allowed up to 45% reduction in sodium, and up to 25% reduction in sugar.

Food applications with high sodium and sugar content include condiments such as ketchup, BBQ sauce, chutneys, pizza/pasta sauces and a variety of sauces for ready-to-eat meals (RTEs). The sugar content in some of these products may be between 10 and 25%.

“Consumers use sauces or condiments in nearly every meal,”​ said David Hart, business unit director for Salt of the Earth. “These products can increase our daily sodium and sugar intake. For example, ketchup provides up to one teaspoon of sugar per one tablespoon of product. Mediterranean Umami is an easy-to-use solution that naturally enhances the flavors of these sauces while reducing salt and sugar content dramatically.”

The company’s Mediterranean Umami ingredient combines sea salt with tomato concentrates, mushroom and seaweed extracts using a proprietary process.

“We all want to eat better-for-you products, with less sugar and salt, but it is really hard to achieve this target using only natural ingredients,” ​explained Hart. “Many R&D and product-development programs are zeroing in on sugar reduction, but the real challenge is to keep the great, sweet-savory taste consumers crave in a flavorful sauce. Mediterranean Umami provides a clean-label solution for significant reductions in sugar and salt.”

“Incredible interest”

Hart told FoodNavigator-USA that winning an IFT17 Innovation Award helped expose Mediterranean Umami to a wide audience.

“Our marketing and sales efforts in the US started in earnest in late 2017 and we are seeing an incredible interest in Mediterranean Umami across a wide range of companies and products. Established brands that are found in almost every household as well as cutting-edge start-ups are evaluating Mediterranean Umami and we are seeing successes mainly in sauces, soups, meats and ready-to-eat meals,” ​he said.

On trend

According to a recent Packaged Facts report, the US market for condiments and sauces reached $24 billion in 2016, marking an annual rate of more than 2% over the preceding five years. Similar sales growth is predicted to continue year-over-year through 2021, added the report.

“The trend toward healthy eating has created challenges for marketers of sauces and condiments, as the perception that sauces and condiments are an unnecessary and unhealthy addition to many foods has made some consumers cut back on consumption,”​ said David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “As a result, sauces and condiments are increasingly marketed as organic and healthy, with new options such as low-sodium or low-sugar varieties supporting restrictive diets.”

Trials conducted by Salt of the Earth indicated that, in a standard ketchup recipe, Mediterranean Umami was able to reduce sodium by 30%, and sugar by 25% while maintaining an identical organoleptic profile.

Similar success was obtained for Thousand Island dressing, where the trials showed a 26% reduction in sodium and 25% reduction in sugar, said the company. No other major reformulation or high-intensity sweeteners were used to achieve the results, it added.

The ingredient is available in the US and Canada via exclusive distributor, A&B Ingredients Inc. It is also available in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium and France.

Food service

In the US, the company is indirectly targeting food-service, Hart told us, by working with companies that provide products to food service such as condiments, soups, sauces, proteins (fish, chicken and vegan “meats”) and also working directly with some leading fast-food chains.

“The same consumer trends in retail – especially the push for natural and clean-label ingredients – are also driving innovation in food service, and Mediterranean Umami provides a perfect solution,”​ said Hart.

“In Israel, we have a more developed capability in the food service sector, where we are selling to restaurants, hospitals and schools—who want a natural replacement for bouillon/MSG and an overall reduced sodium menu.”

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