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The attack on too much salt heats up

22 February 2012

East Midlands food manufacturers are being invited to discover more about how they could reduce the amount of salt in their products

They are also being given the chance to take part in ground-breaking salt-reduction research, which is being supported by the Food and Drink iNet.

The iNet is running an event at The University of Nottingham’s Food and Biofuel Innovation Centre at Sutton Bonington, near Nottingham, which will turn the spotlight on some of the latest innovations in how to manage salt use in food manufacturing, whilst retaining eating quality.

The session, which is being held on Wednesday February 29th from 2pm to 6pm and is specifically aimed at small and medium-sized companies, comes amid calls by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) for an acceleration of the reduction in salt intake in the population.

There is a strong link between high salt intake and high blood pressure, and the food industry has successfully reduced the amount of salt in many processed products. NICE is aiming for a maximum intake of 6g per day for adults by 2015 and 3g daily by 2025.

The Food and Drink iNet is now one of the key contributors of two pieces of research at The University of Nottingham which are looking at ways of cutting down on salt use in some foods.

The first is focusing on how salt crystals could be developed to get across the saliva barrier faster. This would enable less salt to be used in food products, but with the same salt perception by the consumer.

The second piece of research centres on developing physically modified hydrocolloids, so that they can thicken food products, whilst retaining the great flavour characteristics associated with foods like soups, stocks and gravy granules.

Both projects could have major implications for the food industry in the East Midlands and beyond, as well as the nation’s long-term health.

“Reducing salt use is a key industry issue, and the Food and Drink iNet has helped to fund a number of different research projects that are looking at overcoming the challenges,” said Food and Drink iNet director Richard Worrall. “The event on February 29th will be the chance for SMEs to find out about the very latest research and case studies that demonstrate success to date. There will also be the chance for some companies to work with a University of Nottingham researcher on solving salt reduction issues.”

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