Salt may be the obvious source of sodium, but it certainly isn’t the only source. Chemical leavening ingredients like sodium bicarbonate also contribute to that line on the Nutrition Facts Panel. If formulators want to offset flavor loss or another functionality of salt, swapping out chemical leaveners can be another avenue to sodium reduction.

“The most common way to reduce sodium is to reduce salt content,” said Amr Shaheed, technical services and application development manager, Innophos. “However, bakers should equally focus on the other components, specifically the leavening agents. Reformulating with lower sodium leavening agents allows you to reduce the total sodium without impacting the flavor of the product.”

To gain the same leavening functionality with less sodium, formulators can fully or partially replace sodium-based leavening acids with calcium- and ammonium-based ones. Sodium bicarbonate can be replaced with potassium bicarbonate.

“It’s not a 1-to-1 replacement, so you will need about 20% more potassium bicarbonate to provide similar functionality,” Mr. Shaheed said.

Innophos offers is Cal-Rise Calcium Acid Pyrophosphate leavening acid, which can reduce sodium by as much as 35% when used to replace SAPP 28. Levair is a leavening acid that only contains 2,100 mg of sodium per 100 grams of product, and Actif-8 is a blend of SALP and MCP that contains about 1,350 mg of sodium per 100 grams. Mr. Shaheed recommended ammonium phosphate as a sodium-free ingredient for low-moisture snacks.

Unlike potassium replacements for salt, potassium bicarbonate does not have an impact on taste.

“In the case of replacing sodium bicarbonate, happily there is no off-taste that’s normally associated with potassium salts,” said Brian Berube, business manager, performance products/ARMEX, Church & Dwight.

Mr. Berube suggested that snack manufacturers can also try natural non-chemical leavening agents such as yeast and eggs but warned these can also contain sodium.

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