Sometimes the solution to sodium reduction isn’t in a new ingredient or a salt replacer but can be found within the formulation itself. In products relying on other ingredients to provide the flavor, not just salt, formulators can work within the seasoning system to offset any flavor loss when salt is reduced. This was the key to Land O’Lakes’ entire strategy to sodium reduction.

“When we set out to provide sodium-reduced seasonings, we purposely didn’t want to have an off-the-shelf salt replacer, and we’ve been able to do that after two years of research,” said John McDonald, PhD, R&D director; food, innovation and technology group, Land O’Lakes.

To avoid artificial flavors, costly replacers and the need for taste modulators, Land O’Lakes worked to understand its seasonings and how salt functioned within them to find ways to tweak the formulas to accommodate the sodium reduction impacts.

“Our breakthrough is the year we spent learning how salt impacts dairy perception for our consumers," Dr. McDonald explained. “Now we understand as the sodium gets reduced what effect that has, and we’ve developed individual strategies to mitigate those effects. That’s our magic bullet: Learning a lot about the impact of salt and the negative impact of taking it out, and we’ve been able to negate that without using salt replacers.”

One of the reasons Land O’Lakes has been successful is the control it has over its seasonings. The company manages its products from sourcing to manufacturing, formulating and producing the final ingredient in spray dryers. 

“When we’re reducing the sodium of an existing ingredient, we have full control over all the components,” said Susan Reed, senior R&D manager, customer solutions team, Land O’Lakes. “We’re able to manipulate the building blocks and rearrange them to bring the salt down and bring other components up to balance everything out.”

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