Reducing Sodium with Potassium Chloride in the Bakery Category
Potassium Chloride is considered to be a common and effective mineral salt option for sodium reduction in the bakery category.
As a valuable part of our evolution, the consumption of bread dates back almost 6,000 years.(1) Lending to the popularity of bread for millennia is likely its low cost and shelf-life.(1) Bread is conveniently available to many people around the world and it contains nutrients that people require daily.(1) Today, the world consumes more than 19 billion pounds of bread per year, and this food category accounts for more than 50% of the worlds’ daily calories.(1) However, many people may not be aware of the sodium content of bread. Accounting for about 30% of the daily intake of sodium,(2) bread and other cereal products make the largest contribution to an individual’s dietary sodium intake.(1)
The majority of the sodium in bread and baked products comes from traditional salt – sodium chloride (NaCl).(3) Salt is a necessary and very important ingredient when it comes to producing bread correctly. Salt aids in regulating yeast activity, helps control microbial growth, and extends shelf-life.(1) It also boosts gluten development and strength which allows the dough to stretch,(1) and salt hinders starch gelling and prevents pasting.(3) However, to consumers, perhaps the most important functions of salt in yeast-raised baked items are the sensory properties of flavor enhancement(3) and crust color.(1) Salt is important in multiple aspects of the baking process, and recent pushes for sodium reduction have left the baking industry looking for options that don’t negatively affect product functionality or sensory properties.
Recently, the call for sodium reduction in foods has gained momentum.(3) According to Nitta Livvix, R&D manager, Clabber Girl Corp., “People are just now realizing low-sodium must be part of the healthy eating equation.”(3) Consumption of excess dietary sodium has been consistently linked to hypertension, and thereby increases risk for cardiovascular diseases(2) and kidney disease.(4) In a time when people are increasingly more aware of their health, many are looking for heart-healthy foods that are lower in sodium.(5) This puts pressure on the baking industry to provide options for consumers.(1)
Given that outright elimination of salt isn’t possible due to functionality and inherent property limitations, the search for another mineral salt to use as a replacement for sodium chloride has grown in popularity. While there are other mineral salt options,(3) industrially, potassium chloride is the most common choice for sodium reduction efforts in food products.(6) While potassium chloride has some different taste characteristics than sodium chloride, potassium chloride shares some similar beneficial functionalities.(3) Potassium chloride has similar antimicrobial benefits to sodium chloride(1) and is also considered the most cost-effective option of the mineral salts.(3) A side benefit to the use of this blend is increasing the potassium content in foods.(1) Potassium has the potential to aid in lowering blood pressure.(1) This comes at a time when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is mandating that companies include a food product’s potassium content on the Nutrition Facts Label by 2020.(7) Use of potassium chloride in food products has the potential to lower the sodium content and also increase the potassium content, while offering similar functional benefits to sodium chloride in baked items.(1) Therefore, use of potassium chloride has the potential to make a positive impact on public health.
While potassium chloride cannot completely replace sodium chloride in bakery products, it can help lower the sodium content by 10-25% in some products.(1,3) Twenty-five to 30% salt replacement is generally seen as the optimal rate, because significant sodium decreases can be seen with no negative sensory effects.(3) Given the high average consumption of sodium from bakery items in the diet,(2) sodium reduction in this category has the potential for a significant positive impact on public health.(5) While salt is a functional necessity in bakery products, the industry can take advantage of potassium chloride as a partial replacement to sodium chloride in order to strive for the classic, 6,000-year-old taste while also working towards sodium reduction in their products.
- Lopes, Maria, et al. “Sodium Reduction in Bread: A Role for Glasswort (Salicornia ramosissmima J. Woods).” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, Vol 16, 2017. pp. 1056-1071. Accessed on 10 Aug 2018. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1541-4337.12277
- Silow, Christoph, et al. “Current Status of Salt Reduction in Bread and Bakery Products – A Review.” Journal of Cereal Science, Vol 72, Nov 2016. Abstract. Accessed on 10 Aug 2018. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0733521016303745
- Gorton, Laurie. “How to Cut Sodium Out of Bakery Formulas.” 18 May 2012. Accessed on 10 Aug 2018. Retrieved from https://www.bakingbusiness.com/articles/42446-how-to-cut-sodium-out-of-bakery-formulas
- Cleveland Clinic. “How Salt Can Impact Your Blood Pressure, Heart and Kidneys.” 15 Jun 2017. Accessed on 10 Aug 2018. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/kidneys-salt-and-blood-pressure-you-need-a-delicate-balance/
- Mintel Better for You Snacks – US September 2016. “Developing Healthy Products Consumers Want.” 9 Nov 2016. Accessed on 20 Aug 2018. Retrieved from https://www.chicagoift.org/files/PDF/sn/symposium/2016/CSIFT_Technical_breakfast_Nov_2016_Final.pdf
- Israr, Tahreem, et al. “Salt Reduction in Baked Products: Strategies and Constraints.” Trends in Food Science & Technology, Vol 51, May 2016. Abstract. Accessed on 10 Aug 2018. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924224416000613
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. “Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label.” Last updated 28 Jun 2018. Accessed on 10 Aug 2018. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm385663.htm