Altering the particle size of salt crystals can have significant effects on consumer perceptions of saltiness, according to Leatherhead Food International (LFI).
Speaking at a salt reduction symposium in London last month, LFI sensory team leader Cindy Beeren said: "The bigger the crystals, the lower the salt perception." In studies at LFI, researchers made crisps flavoured with 1.5g table salt (with large particles) per 100g; 1.5g of an amorphous, ultra-fine salt (with small particles) per 100g, and a combination of the two, said Beeren.
"Smaller particles give you a more intense hit after a couple of mouthfuls, but the combination of the two worked best if you're consuming a whole packet."
As for commercial salt alternatives, there was still no silver bullet solution, said manufacturers.
Many products only replicate one aspect of salt's functionality, meaning multiple ingredients were usually required, they said.