Spotlight on Salt, Fat and Sugar Reduction22 Oct 2013
Watching the obesity rate tick slowly upward year by year, it becomes apparent that consumers struggle with controlling their weight. The health consequences of obesity, and the direct impact it has on health care costs, has seen government and health authorities continue to place pressure on food manufacturers to take action against obesity and help […]
Watching the obesity rate tick slowly upward year by year, it becomes apparent that consumers struggle with controlling their weight. The health consequences of obesity, and the direct impact it has on health care costs, has seen government and health authorities continue to place pressure on food manufacturers to take action against obesity and help consumers make responsible dietary decisions. Consequently, sugar and fat reduction continue to be top priorities for food and drink manufactures in an attempt to lower the calorie load from sugar and fat, as excessive intakes of both nutrients contribute to weight gain.
Reducing the fat content of products presents challenges, from both a taste and functionality point of view. Fat not only adds energy-dense calories, but it contributes important sensory benefits to food and drink formulations, from the perception of mouth-feel, taste and aroma. When fat is removed from a formulation, these sensory attributes are compromised and in the UK, almost a quarter of consumers believe that taste is compromised in low fat products. The ‘naturalness’ of reduced fat formulations can also suffer, as, in place of fat, functional additives such as sweeteners and bulking agents have to be included to compensate for the loss of taste and texture. Reducing the sugar content of food and drink products presents similar challenges, with sugar adding both bulk and flavour. High intensity sweeteners offer sweetness without the calories; however, their typically artificial nature can put some consumers off, with the general shift away from synthetic food additives as well as their ‘artificial’ taste. However, the growing popularity of the naturally-derived high intensity sweetener stevia provides a low/no calorie natural alternative to sugar – but, as the artificial variants struggle to satisfy on a taste front, stevia has so far struggled with similar issues.
Attention has also been given to reducing the sodium and salt content across food and drink products. With the high amount of salt hidden in processed foods, our taste buds have been trained to expect and crave salty food, contributing to most individuals exceeding their daily sodium intake. Most food manufacturers have employed a gradual and stealthy approach to sodium reduction, to allow the taste buds of consumers to slowly adapt over time to less salty products. However, sodium-reduced products are often rejected on their actual or perceived taste, as they compete with and are compared to their higher-sodium equivalents. A range of different strategies have been employed to reduce the sodium content across processed foods, with salt alternatives and flavour enhancers all essential tools in the ‘sodium reduction toolbox’. A recent study examined whether the distribution of salt in snack foods altered the perception of saltiness. The results showed that a heterogeneous salt distribution better masked reduced sodium products than a homogeneous distribution, supporting a random distribution of salt when designing low-salt foods. At present, a multi-pronged approach to sodium reduction is required to tackle the current problems to overcome a range of issues from taste and acceptance of products, to food safety and food quality.
Sugar, salt and fat reduction will continue to be a research priority for food and drink manufacturers in an attempt to help tackle the obesity epidemic: however, considerable work to replicate the taste and appeal of these products is still required.
Stevia outpaces aspartame in new product launches
27 Nov 2018
The number of new stevia-sweetened foods and drinks overtook new products with aspartame in 2017, according to global data from Innova Market Insights.Read more
Nuts gain from awareness of healthy fats
19 Nov 2018
Demand for products containing nuts is on the rise, aided by ongoing research into their health benefits and growing consumer understanding of healthy fats.Read more
Cranberries show promise for improved gut health
19 Nov 2018
Researchers are just beginning to understand the link between the gut and many chronic health conditions, leading to growing interest in prebiotic ingredients. According to a new study, cranberries are the latest food to show prebiotic potential.Read more
Egg substitutes driven by vegan, allergen-free demand
13 Nov 2018
Egg replacers have long been used as a way to avoid to the price fluctuations often associated with real eggs, but recently interest has been driven by manufacturer demand for clean label and plant-based ingredients, allowing companies to make more veg...Read more
Whey protein on the rise across food categories
13 Nov 2018
Whey protein remains the most popular protein ingredient for athletes by far, but numerous whey protein ingredients have emerged over the past few years, in applications that take it well beyond sports nutrition.Read more
Could regulation tempt the industry to renew focus on low fat foods?
7 Nov 2018
The UK government aims to cut calories by 20% by 2024 in a range of popular foods, potentially shifting focus back onto foods’ fat content as companies strive to reach this target.Read more
Allergen-free foods gain momentum
5 Nov 2018
Launches of allergen-free foods have increased in recent years – and not just because of increased prevalence of food allergy.Read more
Enzyme technology slashes sugar in fruit juice
2 Nov 2018
Israeli researchers have developed a new technology to cut sugar by up to 80% in fruit juice, by using enzymes that boost the fibre content at the same time.Read more
What can blockchain do for the food industry?
1 Nov 2018
International food companies have started to embrace blockchain technology to help trace food and ingredients all along the supply chain. What are the potential benefits for the industry?Read more
The mainstreaming of meat alternatives
26 Oct 2018
Tofu and lentils still have their place in a vegetarian diet, but a new generation of meat alternatives makes it easier than ever for consumers to switch to plant-based options – even the most enthusiastic meat eaters.Read more
Are you a supplier
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation