New Umami salt can help manufacturers improve their Nutri-Score

10 Aug 2020

Sea salt producer Salt of the Earth has developed an umami ingredient solution to help manufacturers reduce the sodium content in their products while also improving their Nutri-Score. The company says its product can lower sodium scores by three to five points and can reduce sodium by up to 45% in a variety of products.

The Israeli company’s solution is called Mediterranean Umami and comes in a powder and a liquid form. It can be used as a one for one replacement for salt in snack applications and is made from natural plant extract derivatives that are rich in umami compounds. "Mediterranean Umami allows food manufacturers to significantly reduce the amount of sodium in their product, without compromising on flavor,” said David Hart, Business Unit Director for Salt of the Earth in a release.

New Umami salt can help manufacturers improve their Nutri-Score

Europe’s Nutri-Score system is a front of package labeling system that was developed in France in 2017 and has since gained popularity from consumers as well as endorsements from both governments and large corporations. So far, Nutri-Score has been officially recommended by health authorities in France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Spain, as well as by the European Commission and the World Health Organization. Similarly, Nestlé and Danone are actively working toward adopting the system on all their packaging across the European market.

Using a color-coded system, consumers are able to judge the health of a food product by scanning a color gradient bar that indicates a score ranging from A (healthier choices) to E (less healthy choices). Points are awarded to products based on the total number of “negative" characteristics of the food (calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium) and "positive" characteristics of the food (fruit and vegetable content, fiber, and protein levels). Studies have indicated that this front-of-pack labeling scheme has been successful in helping consumers select healthier choices at a glance.

The buy-in from consumers and governments has created a new playing field for ingredient producers like Salt of the Earth to provide alternatives for manufacturers looking to improve their scores. "We have seen increased interest from customers seeking to improve the Nutri-Score of their products," Hart said.

However, this recent push toward adopting the Nutri-Score system and its promotion of clean-label products is not unanimously accepted throughout Europe. The German Sugar Industry Association has spoken out against the method saying that the algorithm used to evaluate a product’s score could mislead consumers. Italy too has resisted this labeling methodology saying it singles out traditional Italian products such as Parmigiano Reggiano and extra virgin olive oil as unhealthy due to their fat and calorie content.

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