Will the Smell of Salt Replace Salt in Foods?

Posted 09/25/2012 | By HealthCorps

A recent mandate to food manufacturers has been to reduce salty ingredients and salt levels in processed foods because current levels are credited with raising the risk of high blood pressure.  The challenge is to preserve a food’s taste profile while you lower the levels of salt, an ingredient credited with providing a significant component of that product’s flavor.

Researchers are looking to a process that adds “salty aromas” to foods, while reducing salt ingredient levels.  The process basically makes the food smell salty, while lowering salt levels.  There is no current research to support the concept of smells replacing tastes while keeping consumers happy enough to continue purchasing the newly reformulated foods.  Researchers do feel the theory is a valid way to reduce specific ingredients while preserving flavor.

One research team investigated whether increasing the odor of salt in a food would enhance the desire to eat and enjoy the food, especially in foods with complex taste components.  They found that it did, and have coined the acronym OISE or odor-induced saltiness enhancement as a new objective for food manufacturers.  Taste is still the number one reason why people choose to buy foods, so adding an aroma that will keep consumers interested in purchasing a food whose sodium (and taste) has been reduced, is a huge goal for the food industry.

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