The National Provisioner recently asked Robert Ames, Director of Business Development, Meat Industry, for Corbion, about approaches to sodium-reduction. He shared the following insights:

  • What trends in sodium reduction for new meat or poultry product development are influencing the market? 

Product developers have been conscientious about using less sodium for some time now. One of the first questions we ask is: Do you need low sodium?  The trend started long ago and continues, mostly due to health and wellness concerns. 

  • What consumer health/wellness trends are shaping meat processors’ sodium reduction efforts?

Because some of today’s consumers are striving to live healthy lifestyles, they are selective with their health and wellness consumption. They want ingredients and better-for-you ingredients — a demand that spans all age groups. Innova Market Insights observes that low/no/reduced-salt claims have increased in every major region of the globe. The fastest growing categories of food and beverages launched with low/no/reduced sodium were meat substitutes, (Global, 2017 to 2021).

 Corbion offers a variety of value-adding ingredient options designed to help processors reduce sodium in their products while contributing a neutral flavor profile or enhancing flavor and sensory profiles. Through these solutions, Corbion is able to replace the antimicrobials that bring sodium into the formula with those that don’t, address shelf-life and safety concerns that arise when overall salt level is reduced, and add natural flavoring via cultured sugar, which helps to enhance savory notes such as salty, sweet, and umami. 

  • What regulatory updates or technical breakthroughs are affecting sodium reduction strategies?

The current dietary guidelines from FDA, active through 2025, recommend no more than 2,300 mg/day of sodium, a target that is commonly exceeded in the American diet. In 2021, the FDA issued guidance for the industry with respect to voluntary sodium reduction, recognizing that more than 70% of dietary sodium comes from foods where sodium is added during processing and not by the consumer. Meat products are well represented among the various foods for which FDA is encouraging sodium reduction and, as intended, this provides more pressure on food formulators.

  • How are supply chain issues affecting inputs used in sodium reduction?

The industry uses potassium salts to replace sodium salts for its low-sodium ingredients.  Supply chains for those potassium and sodium sources are different, and distributions can vary.