Sodium reduction in foods: Challenges and strategies for technical solutions
In many parts of the world, sodium consumption is higher than recommended levels, representing one of the most important food-related health challenges and leading to considerable economical costs for society. Therefore, there is a need to find technical solutions for sodium reduction that can be implemented by food producers and within food services. The aims of this review are to discuss the barriers related to sodium reduction and to highlight a variety of technical solutions. The barriers relate to consumer perception, microbiology, processing, and physicochemistry. Existing technical solutions include inhomogeneous salt distribution, coated salt particles, changing particle sizes and forms, surface coating, multisensory combinations, sodium replacements, double emulsions, adapted serum release by microstructure design, and adapted brittleness by microstructure design. These solutions, their implementation and the associated challenges, and applicable product categories are described. Some of these solutions are ready for use or are in their early development stages. Many solutions are promising, but in most cases, some form of adaptation or optimization is needed before application in specific products, and care must always be taken to ensure food safety. For instance, further research and innovation are required in the dynamic evolution of saltiness perception, consumer acceptance, the binding and migration of sodium, juiciness, microbiological safety, and the timing of salt addition during processing. Once implemented, these solutions will undoubtedly support food producers and food services in reducing sodium content and extend the application of the solutions to different foods.
inhomogeneous salt distribution