Like fat and sugar, people have always loved salt. However, in the quantity it has been consumed, it has not loved people back. According to Health Canada, Canadians consume 3400 mg of sodium per day, over twice the recommended intake and well over the recommended limit of 2,400 mg.[i] Exceeding the recommended amount of sodium causes many adverse health effects, such as kidney disease, high blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular events. This leads to approximately 2.5 million deaths per year.[ii]
Consumers have begun to take notice to the danger of the overconsumption of salt. While people typically underestimate the amount of sodium they are consuming, two thirds of people are still trying to reduce sodium in their diets.[iii] There is also economic reasons for limiting sodium intake. According to The American Heart Organization, reducing salt intake to 5g/day (2000 mg of sodium) would save over $426 billion in health care and reduce cases of high blood pressure by 25.6%.[iv]
The most obvious way to reduce sodium in one’s diet is to simply choose healthier foods that have less sodium. Processed foods are responsible for 75% of salt people intake,[v] so avoiding these foods can significantly reduce consumption of sodium. However, while people wish to have healthier diets, they do not want to sacrifice the foods they love. One replacement of table salt that has become very popular is sea salt. While they both contain similar amounts of sodium per gram, sea salt has a larger, coarser grain that makes the brain perceive a saltier taste. This allows for the ability to use less salt in the product without making a change to the product taste. To even further increase the sodium reducing ability, Sun Harvest Salt, LLC, our sea salt provider, has developed a full range of patented table sea salts from 25% less sodium to 45% less sodium.
When reducing sodium, there are a couple different ways to introduce these modified products. Celebrating the reduced sodium can be an effective marketing tool. Many consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the detrimental health effects of sodium and are actively seeking products that limit their intake. Because of this, products that claim reduced sodium can have a significant advantage over competitors.
Taste is still the most important aspect of food for consumers, so attempting to appeal to healthier products is only effective as long as it does not sacrifice taste. Due to sea salt’s ability to closely replicate the flavor of table salt, some of the most iconic products like McDonald’s fries, Oreos and Hamburger Helper have already switched away from table salt to sea salt to meet customer demand for a healthier diet that better controls sodium intake. While there is still a long way to go to accomplish this societal health goal, there is certainly hope of “seaing” a future with less sodium.
[i] Sodium in Canada. (2012, August 06). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/sodium/index-eng.php
[ii] Salt reduction. (2016, June). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs393/en
[iii] Newson, R., Elmadfa, I., Biro, G., Cheng, Y., Prakash, V., Rust, P., . . . Feunekes, G. (2013). Barriers for progress in salt reduction in the general population. An international study. Appetite, 71, 22-31. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2013.07.003
[iv] Salt reduction. (2016, June). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs393/en
[v]Beeren, C. (2011, January 1). Salt reduction: Food manufacturers continue to reduce sodium content by tactics ranging from stepwise reduction to salt replacers. Consumers’ perception of salt plays a crucial role. Prepared Foods
Looking back a few years, gluten-free products were virtually unheard of! Now it is difficult not to see gluten-free offerings dominating the market. The gluten-free trend has crept out from the shelves of the corner health food store and into the pantries of the everyday consumer.
But what is the fuss about gluten? It seems prior to the wrath of the trend, many had never heard of the term. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley or any of its hybrids. In baking, gluten is the binding agent within flour that prevents the baked good from crumbling. Therefore, it is quite essential within the baking industry!
Thus, while some worried about the technical challenges surrounding the gluten-free trend, Embassy seized the opportunity! We worked tirelessly to create a unique flour technology that would function like its wheat based cousin. The greatest challenge with gluten-free bakery products is ensuring the taste and texture are up to par. At Embassy, we task you to spot the difference between our gluten-free products and our regular product line! Our R&D Technicians have risen to the gluten-free challenge and created a product that is unmatched to anything on the market. Whether you fancy an olive oil focaccia, a savory bacon and cheese quiche muffin, or a lemon-coconut loaf, our fusion of bakery and flavour capabilities will satisfy any craving. The only question left is—when are you going gluten-free?
Clean label is no longer a trend—it’s a movement! It is a shift to transparency within the food industry, as consumers are asking more questions about the food they intake. What is it? Where is from? How is it made? Who made it? The movement is a societal shift in thinking, a blanket for the broader awareness surrounding the food industry itself. Today, consumers are demanding fewer ingredient lists, recognizable ingredient names and a clarity about the origin of the ingredients. Thus, the industry must step up to the clean label challenge and meet these demands head on, or risk being left behind.
According to Andrew Winston, Millennials are one of the major forces driving the clean label movement, as they are regularly demanding good behavior from the companies they buy from and work for. This latest generation of workers and parents are twice as likely to “check product packaging to ensure sustainability” and “seek employment with a company because of its stance on social and/or environmental issues.” With approximately 10,000 of these individuals turning 30 every day, their purchasing power is on the rise and will inevitable steer the clean label movement forward.
Fortunately, food companies have been listening! Kraft Foods Group, for example, has announced the removal of artificial colours and preservatives from its flagship Original Mac & Cheese dinner mix; Unilever USA has vowed to source milk and cream only from cows not treated with artificial growth hormones for all its ice cream brands; and Hershey’s announced it would begin formulating its products with simpler and easier-to-understand ingredients, to name a few.
Whether clean label ingredients, better-for-you products, or free-from ingredients, Embassy Ingredients has also abided by its promises to provide the greatest quality bakery ingredients and flavours available. The company has actively taken a step to produce clean label ingredients with shorter ingredient lists, incorporated natural flavours and colours into its ingredients and turned to natural sweeteners such as: honey, maple syrup and agave nectar to avoid refined sugar, or organic compliant baking powder. Not to mention, Embassy’s R&D teams are constantly developing innovative ways to improve its offerings and meet consumer demands. Who says clean eating couldn’t taste so good?
As society continues to shift towards actively engaging with their food and asking the hard hitting questions, transparency within the food industry will be even more important. Neglecting the clean label movement will not only cost you customers, workers and opportunities, it may cost your business a future. It’s time to get savvy and cultivate a Clean Mean Eating Machine.
Source: “Keeping Up with the “Clean Label” Movement”, Andrew Winston, Harvard Business Review, 2016.