When reducing sodium, you need to start with a target, according to Emil Shemer, director, food solutions, Sensient Flavors LLC, Indianapolis, IN. In an exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A, he details the formulation and processing changes required to reduce salt content by 25 to 50%.

Baking & Snack: What is the best approach you recommend to bakers do to cut the sodium content of the foods they offer consumers? Why?

Emil Shemer: The best approach is first and foremost to agree on a sodium-reduction target. You also need to be mindful of how much salt is present in a formula. Other ingredients, in addition to salt, may be contributing sodium to a formula. For example, ingredients such as leaving systems, butter and whey proteins may contribute sodium.

What changes in bakery formulation will this change require? What advice do you give your customers who are considering such alterations?

Changes to the bakery formulation would be specific to the formula. However, possible changes to a bakery formulation when reformulating to reduce sodium may include increasing water/moisture content; adjusting mix times either longer and/or shorter; and changing ''rest time'' for the dough prior to processing/baking.

Can you point to successful sodium reduction projects?

Sensient’s technical experts have been successful in several sodium reduction projects. In bread formulations, Sensient has reduced salt by at least 50% and in crackers by 25 to 30%. In both cases, this was achieved by reduction in the dough formulation.

What products does Sensient offer to help bakers reduce the amount of sodium in their bread and rolls?

Sensient offers an extensive portfolio of natural flavor solutions that can assist manufacturers in formulating reduced sodium products. Sensient’s natural flavor systems allow manufacturers to reduce sodium by 25 to 50%. In addition, Sensient partners with its customers to develop reduced-salt products that mimic full-salt versions and that compensate for additional product profile changes that may occur due to the reduction in salt. Sensient’s natural flavor systems provide manufacturers with the ability to create cleaner label products in a cost-effective manner.