Combining Potassium Chloride and Salt in Food Manufacturing
There may now be a greater incentive for food manufacturers to enhance the potassium content in their products. One notable salt food ingredient, which can provide just that while also reducing sodium levels, is potassium chloride.
Research shows that food manufacturers are continuously striving to achieve greater sodium reduction in their processed foods. (1) Not only is the food industry seeing demand from consumers for lower sodium levels, but manufacturers are also experiencing pressure from regulators. In March 2018, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb emphasized that sodium reduction will be at the forefront of the FDA’s new Nutrition Innovation Strategy. Gottlieb stated, “there remains no single more effective public health action related to nutrition than the reduction of sodium in the diet.” (2)
One popular solution that food manufacturers have found success with is potassium chloride. The initial appeal for combining potassium chloride and salt in food manufacturing comes from potassium chloride’s ability to reduce sodium up to 50% in certain applications, while maintaining the same functional benefits provided with salt. (3) However, new research and regulatory action might provide even more incentive for food processors to start using potassium chloride.
Potassium’s Growing Health Halo
A recent study conducted by Cargill in late 2017 indicated that including higher levels of potassium on a food label can positively impact the product overall. Nearly 13,000 consumers who do at least half of their household’s grocery shopping assessed 140 different food ingredients as part of the study. From this data, we found that potassium is considered one of the healthiest ingredients, ranking right next to honey in terms of “perceived healthfulness.” Potassium also has a high positive purchase impact, meaning a majority of consumers seek it out when viewing food labels and are more likely to purchase a product if it’s listed. (4)
Potassium’s Mandatory Addition on the 2020 Nutrition Facts Panel
Regulatory pressure may also soon increase Americans’ dietary consumption of potassium. Starting January 1, 2020, food manufacturers will be required by the FDA to include potassium on their Nutrition Facts Panels.(2) Previously, this information about potassium was optional on food labels, except for instances where a potassium claim is made. This is good news for American consumers, since some estimates say up to 98% of the population likely does not get enough potassium.(5) This shortcoming in our diets is problematic, since potassium – an essential human nutrient – can, among other benefits, help lower blood pressure, help reduce risk of heart disease and strokes, and help with nerve and muscle function.(6)
The Future for Potassium
With these positive consumer perceptions and a renewed regulatory push in favor of potassium, more so than ever, food manufacturers may want to consider enhancing the level of potassium in their products. One simple way to do this is by using potassium chloride as a substitute for salt. It offers better functionality than any other salt replacer, so manufacturers can ensure the same great taste, texture, and shelf life of the foods they make, all while reducing sodium up to 50%. (6) Cargill, one of the world’s largest food ingredient providers and a recognized leader in the food processing industry, has a long history in the potassium chloride business. With deep food industry knowledge, Cargill anticipated the increased demand for potassium chloride and invested in a new facility dedicated to potassium chloride production. This addition makes Cargill the only major food ingredient company in the U.S. to launch a domestic, food-grade potassium chloride plant. This helps offer our customers an assured supply, while also enabling them to achieve their potassium enhancement and sodium reduction goals when using Potassium Pro® Potassium Chloride.
- Innova Insights Marketing Database
- Cargill Proprietary Research – 2017 IngredienTracker
- Today’s Dietitian; Increasing Dietary Potassium, 2012. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/121112p50.shtml