Salt replacers can be another way to achieve lower sodium levels. These can be used with salt or replace it, but substitutes can sometimes require taste modulators to overcome off-notes that may be present.

“Numerous salt substitutes and taste-enhancing solutions are available in the marketplace for formulators, with potassium-based salt substitutes being the most widely used solution,” said Barry Knudson, chief operating officer, NuTek Natural Ingredients. “Potassium-based substitutes impart a salty flavor, but some may be limited in usage level due to a bitter or metallic aftertaste.”

Masking agents can be used to block the bitter flavors, but these ingredients can be expensive or not label-friendly.

NuTek Food Science employs a patented process to eliminate bitter or metallic off-flavors in potassium chlo-ride without using bitter blockers or flavor enhancers.

“This range of solutions allows formulators to reduce sodium and increase potassium content without compro-mising functionality or flavor,” said Scott Keys, vice president, salt solutions, NuTek Natural Ingredients.

With these ingredients, snack manufacturers can achieve a 30 to 50% sodium reduction.

[Related reading: Salty snacks find many paths to sodium reduction]

Like sodium chloride, taste perception of potassium chloride is affected by particle size as well. Cargill offers a micro-sized potassium chloride, Potassium Pro Ultra Fine, to help mitigate off-flavors associated with the ingredient.

“Smaller particle size helps with the aftertaste of potassium chloride,” said Janice Johnson, PhD, technical service for Cargill Salt. “But if you add too much, it can be there.”

Umami ingredients like hydrolyzed vegetable proteins and yeast extracts can also be used to address the loss of flavor that occurs when removing salt from a formulation.

“Yeast extracts can be added to a lower-sodium product to make up for the lack of salt, especially when you need that boost of flavor without add-ing sodium,” said Roger Lane, marketing manager, savory flavors, Sensient Flavors.

These umami ingredients, however, can come with a cost or not be very label-friendly. Sensient Flavors offers snack manufacturers a proprietary blend of ingredients called SensaSalt 2G that can lower sodium 30 to 40%.

“We have found that when used in conjunction with other sodium reduction solutions, SensaSalt 2G works as a flavor enhancer to boost positive notes while reducing negative off notes,” Mr. Lane said.

This article is an excerpt from the October 2020 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on sodium reduction, click here.