Sodium Reduction in Cheese Using Nu-Tek’s Modified Potassium Chloride

April 14, 2010

MINNETONKA, Minn., April 14 /PRNewswire/ — There has been many a push to reduce sodium in packaged and restaurant foods. New York City Public Health Department officials have launched the National Salt Reduction Initiative, a voluntary program to guide reduction in salt levels in foods sold at retail and foodservice. This will be a challenge for some cheese manufactures. Typical sodium content in processed cheese singles is 1238 mg/100 g and cheddar is 615 mg/100 g. The target for 2014 would be 1040 mg/100 g and 570 mg/100 g, respectively.

Salt, or sodium chloride, adds the typical salty flavor to cheese. The cation portion of the salt or the sodium/potassium portion of salt gives salt the typical salty perception. Because sodium chloride (salt) is a very small molecule, you get more cations than you would get from any other salt product, thus the salty perception is hard to replace. Potassium chloride is very similar in molecular weight to sodium chloride and will give the next best salty perception in a cheese product when comparing salts. However, potassium chloride also will add a bitter or metallic note in addition to the salty note to the cheese. Nu-Tek has developed a patent-pending technology that minimizes the metallic note of the potassium chloride so it is more similar to sodium chloride, or salt, in salty perception.

Salt also plays a significant role in cheese processing. Sodium chloride (salt) functions to pull the whey out of the curd or aids in dehydration of the cheese. Sodium chloride is extremely ionic and will draw moisture or whey out of the cheese. This, in turn, will give cheese a firmer texture, lower the water content and also increase the ionic strength of the cheese. When you increase the ionic strength of cheese, it lowers the water activity of the cheese. In other words, the water will not be as accessible to microbial growth and reduce the onset of potential pathogens.

Because of this functional aspect of salt, it is very hard to replace. You cannot replace it with flavors, MSG, spices or yeast extracts to obtain this functionality. The best functional salt in this application is here again potassium chloride. It is very similar in ionic strength as sodium chloride. The down side of straight potassium chloride is its metallic flavor that is outlined above. Nu-Tek’s Modified Potassium Chloride will function very similarly to sodium chloride (salt).

We have trialed our Modified Potassium Chloride in cheddar cheese and found that the salty perception and flavor is similar to that of the control cheese using regular salt. The texture and shelf life of the cheese were similar.

In summary, reducing sodium content in cheese systems is challenging, but today there are many solutions. Flavor issues can be enhanced by using many current flavoring systems. They usually fall short in terms of functional properties in cheese systems. Potassium chloride will function similarly, but will have the same functionality in cheese processing. Nu-Tek’s Modified Potassium Chloride can solve flavor and functional issues for the cheese and processed cheese developer today.

Nu-Tek Products develops and markets new technologies for the food and medical industries.


    Teresa Isakson
    (952) 936-3603

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SOURCE Nu-Tek Products

Source: newswire

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