Experts such as Bill McKeown, vice-president of technology, AB Mauri, Chesterfield, MO, strongly support gradual reduction when experimenting with reduced-sodium formulations. He recommended a conservative approach that cuts the amount of salt added to formulations by 5 to 10% at first. “Depending on the starting point, this change in sodium will not impact processing to any significant degree,” he said.

By taking sodium down over an extended period of time, the baker can measure and respond to consumer preferences, repeating the process once consumer acceptance to each change is gained. “These conservative changes, over longer time periods, generally will not impact consumer preference compared with making significant changes quickly,” Mr. McKeown said.

Deb Rolf, executive vice-president and president, Americas, Smart Salt, Inc., Arnold, CA, also suggested a stepwise approach. “We tell users to reduce a part of the sodium chloride, making a 20 to 40% cut eventually. That way, you can learn whether any performance differences develop.”

“As formulators can appreciate,” said Helen Mitchell, PhD, Smart Salt’s technical director, “changing the mineral balance affects taste, function and microbial integrity of the product.” She reported acceptable bread products made with 40, 45 and 50% salt reduction using the company’s proprietary mineral salt concentrate.