Dutch consortium to reduce salt and improve sustainability in processed meats

A number of innovative Dutch meat processors, retailers and food innovation company TOP bv have started a collaboration to achieve salt reduction in meat products without loss of flavour, texture and shelf life. The companies are exploring the possibility of using the technology pascalisation and vegetable fibres to offer an alternative to salt. The first results are promising.

The meat industry is pressured to reduce the salt content in processed meats. On average, the salt intake through our diet is too high, and processed products like meats have a large share in this. However, because lowering the salt content can have negative effects on the shelf life, texture and flavour, many producers are reluctant to adapt their recipes.

Preservation of flavour, texture and safety
Combining knowledge of meat, technology and fibre have led to viable solutions. Research has shown that in the case of texture, vegetable fibre can be used. In sausage, for example, a part of the salt is replaced with carrot fibre, with similar results in terms of texture. By treating the meat with pascalisation, the micro-organisms responsible for spoilage do not stand a chance, resulting in an increase in shelf life. Additionally earlier research by TOP has shown that the salt perception changes by high pressure with pascalisation. This will be further investigated during this project.

Besides lowering the salt content, the consortium is also working to increase the sustainability of meats. For example, by eliminating unnatural additives including nitrite.

First products in 2015
The goal of the companies is to reduce salt in meat products with an average of 35%. Wouter de Heij, director TOP bv: “The results from the tests are promising. The challenge was to reduce salt. Now it turns out that it may also be possible to exclude unnatural additives. With this we possibly found the key to salt reduction in which no adverse effects occur in the end product. ” In 2015, the first product will be launched on the market.