Comprehensively examining leavening agents and salts, Barbara Bufe Heidolph, director, commercial, applications and product development, Innophos, Inc., Cranbury, NJ, discusses changes in these ingredients that help cut the sodium levels present in baked foods and snacks. This exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A covers application details and summaries guidance about sodium and its role in human health.

Baking & Snack: What ingredients does Innophos offer for reducing the sodium content of baked foods and snacks?

Barbara Heidolph: Innophos has several technologies to aid in sodium reduction of baked goods and snacks.

For yeast-leavened baked goods, the primary, if not only source of sodium, is the salt, sodium chloride (NaCl). For chemically leavened baked goods, there are three primary sources of sodium: salt, sodium bicarbonate or baking soda, and leavening acid. For snack goods, the sodium can come from salt in the formulation as well as topical application. In some snack products, chemical leavening is also used to provide target texture or crunch.

Innophos offers ingredient solutions to allow the formulator to reduce sodium by replacing a portion of the salt or to replace a portion or all of the leavening acids with zero- or low-sodium leavening options.

Sodium and salt have three primary functions in food products, including baked goods and snacks:

1. Flavor
2. Functionality — sodium/salt can influence both gluten development and yeast activity
3. Food safety — sodium/salt can impact microorganisms

First, salt reduction: In general, formulators will start off by reducing the amount of salt in their formulation to a level that still provides the target flavor and delivers food safety and functionality. With a simple reduction, they may not fully achieve their sodium targets. Further reduction of salt can be accomplished by replacing a portion with a salt replacer.

Innophos has acquired the exclusive licensing agreement for the Americas for Smart Salt, a patented technology that is designed to deliver equivalent flavor or saltiness. Smart Salt is a mineral salt based on magnesium potassium chloride. When magnesium and potassium chloride are present in combination, they provide an improved flavor profile vs. that of other salt replacers such as potassium chloride alone. Smart Salt provides a salty taste with no bitter or metallic aftertaste, with up to 40 to 50% less sodium.

Smart Salt not only allows the reduction of salt in the formulation while maintaining taste, but research has shown that Smart Salt can aid in maintenance of food safety. Microbiological challenge tests in no-preservative added bread indicate that Smart Salt performs at least as well as regular salt against both pathogenic species and other spoilage organisms at very low sodium levels.

Applications research has shown that for both yeast-leavened products as well as chemically leavened products; Smart Salt does not impact the quality of the finished baked good or snack. Volume and texture are maintained. Additionally, Smart Salt generally does not require any special processing. Smart Salt can be substituted for salt in the formulation in the process the same way.

For chemically leavened baked goods, there is more than one source of sodium. Not only must the formulator consider reduction or replacement of salt, but they also must consider the sodium contribution of the baking soda and leavening acid.

Cal-Rise CAPP/MCP is an excellent choice for sodium reduction. Cal-Rise can be used to deliver controlled release of leavening gas. Cal-Rise is particularly useful when SAPP is used in a formulation. When Cal-Rise is substituted for SAPP, it may provide as much as a 25% reduction in sodium, without having to alter the level of salt in the formula. Cal-Rise along with the other calcium-based leavening acids — MCP, V90, DCPD and the ultra-low sodium SALP products, Levair, BL60 and Actif-8 — can be used to reduce the level of sodium from the leavening acid while still maintaining control of when the leavening gas is released. These zero- and low-sodium leavening acids provide a clean flavor palate, allowing more sweetness to be perceived as well as some of the flavors that are added like vanilla, butter, or almond. Cal-Rise provides a uniform cell structure that is resilient, an improvement over the texture of a baked good made with SAPP on both flavor and texture.

One other aspect when considering the best way to reduce sodium is cost. No matter what, sodium reduction costs more. Even if the salt is simply removed from a formulation, the cost goes up because salt is one of the four least expensive ingredients in bakery formulations. Only air, water and sodium bicarbonate can be less costly than salt. For this reason, it is often recommended that the following strategy be employed:

1. Identify all sources of sodium in the formulation.
2. Examine the replacement of sodium-based functional ingredients with zero- or low-sodium alternatives. This would include the leavening acids and bicarbonate in baked goods.
a. When substituting Cal-Rise for SAPP, there is 0% increase in cost.
b. When substituting potassium bicarbonate for sodium bicarbonate, there is about an 800% increase in cost. Not only does potassium bicarbonate cost more, but the formulator must use 20% more in order to maintain the same level of carbon dioxide gas for leavening.
c. It is an easy decision to look first at strategies to reduce sodium by leavening acid substitution.
3. Examine the ability to reduce the overall salt in the formulation. If flour is substituted for the reduction in salt, there is about a 200% increase in cost.
4. After getting the lowest cost reduction in sodium completed first, it is now time to consider substitution of a portion of the salt with a salt replacer such as Smart Salt.
It is important to consider your options when doing sodium reduction.

For snacks, not only is the salt in the formulation a factor for consideration, but also the topical application of the salt. Smart Salt comes as a concentrate or as a blend. Blends are available with a 40% - 50% reduction in sodium. For the snack manufacturers, the Smart Salt 40 or Smart Salt 50 can be used as direct replacements for all of the topical salt. These products are a blend of Smart Salt and salt. The best part is that the blends provide convenience in that they are ready to use. The blends are also uniform, which provides a better flavor for the final product; there are not hot spots of bitterness or metallic flavor.

What are they made of?

Smart Salt Concentrate is magnesium ammonium potassium chloride.

Smart Salt 40 and Smart Salt 50 are blends of the concentrate with salt (NaCl).

Cal-Rise is a Calcium acid pyrophosphate with Monocalcium phosphate leavening acid
Regent 12XX and Ajax are monocalcium phosphate monohydrate

V90 is anhydrous monocalcium phosphate that is stabilized for shelf life as well as initial rate of reaction. V90 kicks in after the first 3 to 5 minutes of mixing.

DCPD is dicalcium phosphate dehydrate.

Levair is Sodium Aluminum Phosphate.

BL60 is sodium aluminum phosphate plus aluminum sulfate.

Actif-8 is sodium aluminum phosphate plus anhydrous monocalcium phosphate.

How much sodium can be subtracted by use of these ingredients?

When using Smart Salt, a 30 to 50% reduction in sodium can be achieved while maintaining finished product quality and taste.

When using Cal-Rise as much as 25% sodium reduction is possible.

For the combination of leavening acids and Smart Salt, a formulator can achieve their target level of sodium reduction, sometimes as high as 60%

What should a formulator know about these ingredients to make best use of them?

The selection of the leavening acid is based upon its rate of reaction, or the timing of when the carbon dioxide is released. This timing will impact the ability to process a dough or batter. It will also impact the volume, cell structure and texture of the final product. There are three types of leavening acids:

Fast: Regent 12XX, Ajax and V90 provide fast rate of reaction. They will provide nucleation in the bowl which helps to set cell structure. They will also provide early expansion in the oven.

Time-Delayed: Cal-Rise is delayed like BP Pyro SAPP 28. This product provides both bench tolerance for commercial processing as well as ideal volume development due to release of CO2 at the right time during the baking process.

Heat Triggered: Levair, BL60 and DCPD have the majority of their reaction occur in the oven, delivering both tolerance to holding as well as optimum volume.

Additionally, the neutralizing value (NV) is important to understand how much of each acid is needed. NV varies from 72 for Cal-Rise to 100 for Levair. The higher the number, the less leavening acid is required to neutralize the baking soda.

Smart Salt can be used in most applications where salt is used to deliver sodium reduction while at the same time providing saltiness without bitter or metallic flavors. Smart Salt can be added to the formulation and the product processed as if salt was present.
The formulator must also understand their total formulation and all sources of sodium to effectively reduce the sodium in the most functional cost effective manner.

Innophos has the I-Team to assist the product developers and process engineers to understand formulation options. The team is just a phone call away or can come to the customer’s facility to assist in formulation and process development.

What does recent science on the subject of sodium and human health say?

Sodium reduction in the US is an interesting area. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has recommended that sodium consumption be less than 2,300 mg per day for healthy individuals. For some individuals, who may be up to 60 to 75% of the population, it is recommended that sodium be less than 1500 mg per day. On average in the US, about 3,500 mg sodium is consumed per day. This is higher than the recommendation.

The only regulations that impact sodium are the nutrition labeling for restaurants and vending machines, and the US Department of Agriculture school breakfast, lunch and snack program. For the general population, there are no requirements, yet, for sodium reduction in food.

In 2013, it was anticipated that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would consider altering the status of salt in food, establish a generally recognized as safe (GRAS) limit and also set forth a guidance on maximum sodium in the diet. This has not happened.

In the meantime, many food manufacturers continue to responsibly reduce the sodium content of their food products. The goal is not a specific level of reduction, such as 25%, but rather to take the high level products, those that are greater than 400 to 500 mg of sodium per serving, down in level. Until there is regulation, the active sodium reduction will be in areas where it is required (USDA school menu items, for example) or in products that have high “sticker shock” levels of sodium.

In Canada, the 2016 target levels are approaching; we are one year away. It appears that more action will be taken in Canada to reach the targets set forth by Health Canada.

Latin America, especially Brazil, has set for targets or guidelines. In Brazil, there are a number of targets that must be met, initially by the end of 2014.

Sodium reduction on a global basis is active where there are regulations or government driven initiatives. There is a cost to reduce sodium, so in most cases, like the US, until there is a level playing field, where all foods are held to the same limitation, just the required reductions will be active.