While Americans generally consume too much sodium, potassium is a nutrient that Americans struggle to get enough of.
The Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.) suggests the average American adult consume 4,700 mg daily, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that on average people consume only 2,640 mg a day. Tie that to research that suggests potassium could reduce the negative effects of a high-sodium diet, and it is no mystery why the new Nutrition Facts Label will include potassium content on the label.
“As consumers start reading their labels and thinking about potassium, they might make the connection between potassium chloride and this positive nutrient,” said Janice Johnson, Ph.D., technical service and application lead for Cargill Salt. This connection gives potassium-based ingredients an extra bonus when used in sodium reduction.
The F.D.A. also offers guidelines for a “good source” claim for potassium in food. Rob Berube, technical services manager for Church & Dwight Co., suggested potassium bicarbonate, despite the higher cost, can contribute to reaching for that claim.
“Assuming we have enough to meet that criteria, we can make the claim that the product is a ‘good source of potassium’ and have that added benefit,” he said.
Only time will tell though if consumers are willing to jump on the potassium bandwagon.
“We’ll have to see how consumer perception changes over time,” Dr. Johnson said.
This article is an excerpt from the December issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on sodium reduction, click here.