Small really is beautiful when it comes to salt replacement

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Salt Sodium chloride

Small really is beautiful when it comes to salt replacement
New product with microscopic particles will enable manufacturers to slash salt levels

A new frontier in salt replacement has opened up with the launch of commercial quantities of Soda-Lo: microscopic salt crystals enabling manufacturers to slash salt levels and retain their 'clean' labels.

The free-flowing 'Soda-Lo' particles - which, at 5-10 microns, are a fraction of the size of standard salt (c500 microns) - deliver an intense, salty hit on the taste buds.

It was well-known that the smaller the crystals, the higher the salt perception, said Dr Stephen Minter, technical director at Eminate - the Nottingham-based firm behind Soda-Lo.

However, the smaller they got, the more hygroscopic they became. They lost their free-flowing properties and stuck together, creating big headaches for manufacturers, he explained.

By contrast, Soda-Lo had been engineered using patent-pending technology that changed the structure of salt crystals to create free-flowing, microscopic hollow balls, he claimed.

"It has the consistency of talc and a shelf-life of 18 months."

The product was now being road-tested by manufacturers in multiple sectors, he added. "Results in bakery are particularly exciting. Bread makers are finding they can get the same crumb structure and height with 50% less salt. The smaller particle size means Soda-Lo cross-links gluten in dough more effectively, helping maintain structure during baking. More moisture is also retained, which could offer quality and shelf-life benefits."

Following a tie-up with an undisclosed third party, Eminate was now able to produce commercial quantities of Soda-Lo, said Minter. "We're starting the first production runs this week."

While Soda-Lo was more expensive than salt, it was competitively priced compared with other salt replacers, he claimed. Its clean-label status (it can be listed as 'salt' on labels) also appealed to potential customers, he said. "One manufacturer is building a new product range around it, while several others are trialling it at plant as well as pilot scale."

Other ingredients suppliers had developed clean-label yeast extracts and flavour enhancers to replace salt. However, they typically worked best in conjunction with non-sodium salts like potassium chloride, which many manufacturers were trying to avoid putting on labels, he said. "We're still selling salt - only smaller."

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast