The product, an organic sea salt that goes through a proprietary process to introduce potassium and magnesium, is a combination of sodium chloride, potassium chloride and magnesium salts, md Leslie Wilson told FoodManufacture.co.uk.
“If you replace [table] salt [sodium chloride] with our product, gram-for-gram, you get a 60% reduction in sodium, all the benefits of magnesium – in which many UK consumers are deficient – and the same technical functionality as standard salt.”
Firms keen to improve their front-of-pack labels (traffic lights, GDAs etc) could also make significant reductions in salt (sodium chloride) by switching to low sodium sea salt, said Wilson.
For example, replacing 6g of standard salt with 6g of Solo (the brand name for his product), firms could slash ‘salt’ levels by more than half as 6g of Solo contained 2.46g of sodium chloride, he said.
Given that Solo contained significantly less potassium chloride than low-sodium rival Lo Salt, it had also benefited from a price advantage given the recent surge in potassium prices, said Wilson. “We’ve got customers in a wide range of products from recipe dishes and pizza to bread, cakes, biscuits, meat and seafood.”
However, any salt replacer was clearly more expensive than salt itself, and that remained a barrier for many firms operating on wafer thin margins, he accepted.
“During the recession it was definitely the case that some new product development projects were ‘banked’, but things have started to get moving again in many cases as the economy starts to recover.”
In some cases, the technical properties of Solo (which is more hygroscopic than table salt) meant that manufacturers could use up to 25% less in products such as meat brine to achieve the same flavour profile, he said “It’s just more efficient [than standard salt].”
“Frankly outrageous” salt levels
His comments came as a survey published by CASH (Consensus Action on Salt and Health), revealed that some Indian meals and accompaniments sold in UK supermarkets and takeaways contained salt levels deemed by the British Heart Foundation to be “frankly outrageous”.
According to CASH, some supermarket ready meals contain more than twice the amount of salt adults should safely consume in one day.
However, the supermarkets all insist they have made significant progress in reducing salt across their product ranges, with Tesco claiming to have met 2010 FSA salt targets for 98% of its products and Morrisons claiming to have hit the Food Standards Agency's 2010 targets for 90% of its products.
The Co-operative Group, meanwhile, says that it has already reached the FSA’s more challenging 2012 salt targets for its own-label ready meals and cook-in sauces.