In response, Finnish dairy producer Valio and food company Fazer have jointly created Valio ValSa milk salt, which allows for the reduction of salt in food products.
Both companies will soon be launching products utilizing the milk salt, which consists of the natural minerals in milk: potassium, iodine, magnesium, calcium, as well as sodium. However, milk salt contains nearly 80% less sodium than ordinary table salt.
“It would be easy to reduce salt in products if we did not have to worry about the taste,” said Valio executive vice president Tuomas Salusjärvi, who is responsible for product development and product groups.
The development of the Valio ValSa innovation took almost 10 years. Originally, Valio’s aim was to develop a health cheese, and the intention was to use milk salt only in this cheese.
“Soon we understood that if we only reduce the salt level in cheese, the impact on the total salt intake will still remain fairly small. We started to think in broader terms. This is how we came up with the idea of also utilizing milk salt in spreads and bread,” Salusjärvi said.
“With this innovation, we can be part of the solution in reducing the adverse health effects of salt.”
Valio is launching Valio Polar 15 cheese and Valio Oivariini spread, which have been manufactured by replacing part of the table salt with milk salt, with the result being products with 50% less salt than ordinary margarine spreads and cheeses.
Fazer will use milk salt in the manufacturing of its new, lower salt Oululainen Reilu Futissämpylä bread.
Vice president new product development at Fazer Bakery, Heli Anttila, said, “Fazer Bakery is renewing the whole bread product group in a big way and wants to bring new solutions to promote well-being. An important part of this goal is reducing salt in breads, and therefore it was natural for us to start product development collaboration with Valio.
“We have already renewed our recipes and made changes to raw ingredients, which will help us to reduce the amount of salt in bakery products by approximately 35,000 kg in 2016. Milk salt creates new opportunities for us.”
Salt intake reduction could mean big savings
Reduction of salt in the Finnish diet would be seen in better health and cost savings, according to a study conducted by MedFiles for Valio and Fazer.
According to the study, the daily salt intake of Finns would decrease by 11% if Finns were to choose products with a salt level equivalent to that in products manufactured with Valio Valsa milk salt, instead of normally salted bread, fat and cheese.
The number of arterial illness events and deaths would be reduced by 3,700 cases over the next 10 years. Consequently, Finland would save up to €65m ($73.9m) over the same time period.
Valio category manager, Teea Björklund, said that salt is a global challenge, with some countries already tackling the issue.
“In Great Britain, for example, salt is a much discussed topic. The US has also been looking for solutions to reduce salt. So there are potential export markets around the world for the Valio ValSa milk salt innovation, also in other than dairy products.”
A spokesperson for Valio told DairyReporter that the Valio ValSa innovation is being made available for other manufacturers as well – in the same way as for Fazer.
Valio told this website it will introduce more new products with less salt in 2017.