For the past year, sodium-reduction initiatives and sodium-replacement ingredient products have been one of the main trends in the food ingredient industry. Sales of these ingredients have expanded to significant commercial scale. Our blog posts on low-sodium ingredient trends have been the most viewed and most passionately commented upon, of any current industry trends.
In a February blog post, we identified links to a dozen different sodium-reduction ingredient products. Another post asked the question “What’s the best low-sodium or sodium reduction ingredient product?” In response, we have received dozens of product samples and ingredient company marketing presentations on a wide range of sodium-reduction products and solutions.
Most of these ingredient products are some form of modified potassium chloride with the modifiers masking the off-tastes of the chemical compounds replacing traditional uses of sodium chloride. Another large group continues to use sodium chloride, but modifies the molecule size and structure to increase “salty taste”, while reducing sodium content by using smaller amounts of the sodium chloride. Food Manufacturing customer companies report that they are most interested in application-specific solutions, and that “one size does not fit all” in food applications.
We also received dozens of product samples from various ingredient companies. Nearly all of them were delivered in plain plastic baggies, often with only minimum-printed labels and very little product information. A few that stood out had memorable sample product packaging that included company logos and strong brand identity, along with professional-looking marketing materials.
We see this low-sodium trend continuing in 2012 with the introduction of even more new sodium-reduction ingredient products continuing to crowd the market. Reprinted below is our original post on the subject. What do you think is the best low-sodium or sodium-reduction ingredient product?
Crowded Low-Sodium Ingredient Market Challenges Marketers
Originally posted February 28, 2011
Author: Mark Hughes
In the face of increasing pressure from major world-wide health initiatives and looming regulation here in the U.S., food processors in manufacturing and food service have undertaken their own initiatives to reduce the sodium content of their products. Food ingredient marketers have created a wide range of low-sodium and sodium-replacement ingredient products designed to help their customers respond to that challenge. The result is a crowded U.S. marketplace with hundreds of different companies competing for attention.
The 2010 IFT show in Chicago featured over 150 new product announcements for sodium-replacement ingredient products and systems. That trend line is continuing to rise this year with the entry into the U.S. market of several global ingredient companies with new sodium-reduction products like Jungbunzlauer sub4salt, KaliSel potassium chloride and NaturePep from Korea, who gave us the bikini-clad saltshaker.
A common strategy among the ingredient marketers is to brand their low-sodium products with a premium-positioned trade brand name and logo in an effort to differentiate their products from dozens of others with similar properties or chemistry. An example is Cargill’s SaltWise sodium replacement product. Another major player, Danisco, offers a line of application-specific ingredients under its SaltPro brand with products targeted at bakery, cheese and dairy, processed meat and food service applications. Major ingredient suppliers have also added sodium reduction products to their larger portfolios like Wixon Ingredient Company with branded KCLean Salt.
Flavor companies have been among the most aggressive ingredient marketers presenting a variety of sodium-reduction solutions built into the flavoring systems they already produce for their customers. Leading flavor companies that have introduced major new low-sodium offerings include Savoury Systems Organic Salt Replacer, Griffith Laboratory’s Custom Culinary and Givaudan’s TasteSoultions Salt.
The trend to lower sodium in processed foods will continue to grow and get even bigger over the next two years. Make sure your low-sodium ingredient products stand out of the crowded ingredient marketplace. Look for our follow-up post on how food ingredient companies can successfully face the challenge of cutting through the clutter in an already-crowded marketplace.