Most people are aware that medical researchers have long considered sodium to be linked to health complications such as high blood pressure and an elevated risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. The fact is that most people consume way more sodium than they need, and in fact may be endangering their health by doing so. The public is well aware of this, largely through government-sponsored messaging urging a reduction in sodium intake. Sodium is one of the label items people most commonly check when determining how healthy a food product is.
The reason most people find sodium so hard to limit is that most of the sodium in the average diet comes from processed food. So the only way to limit sodium intake traditionally has been to confine yourself to eating fresh, unprocessed food that is not pre-prepared. Unfortunately, most people are too busy and/or don’t have the resources to eat this way all the time. So in a very real sense, the choice for a long time has been between convenience and health.
It’s true that some of the salt that is added to processed foods is added to enhance flavor. This is also true of restaurant food, which tends to be very high in sodium as well. But a lot of the sodium in processed food comes in the form of preservatives, like sodium benzoate and sodium nitrite. These additives are necessary in traditional processed foods to increase shelf life. Sometimes salt is even added to mask off-flavors that result from traditional processing methods or the addition of non-sodium preservatives.
One of the most significant benefits of high pressure processing is that it eliminates the need for artificial preservatives, because the process itself deactivates the spoilage microorganisms that cause food to break down quickly. Shelf life is naturally increased by several times over that of a similar unprocessed product. And because hpp makes food safe and shelf stable without changing organoleptic properties – like taste, consistency, color, smell, mouthfeel, etc. – there will never be any need to add salt, or any other substance for that matter, to mask the effects of the processing itself.
Eliminating the need for added sodium presents a dual benefit in terms of customer perception. Health conscious consumers are not only turned off by the sodium content of processed foods in terms of milligrams. As the general public turns more and more toward clean label offerings, they increasingly consider unrecognizable or chemical sounding names in the ingredient list to be unacceptable. A consumer who sees sodium benzoate or sodium diacetate among the ingredients on a food label is more likely than ever to be turned off by the unnatural sound of the name, even if they have no idea what it is, and even if the food label they are looking at is from a trusted brand. Furthermore, every indication is that this trend is only going to increase for the foreseeable future.
If your goal is to lower the sodium content of your food products in order to make them more attractive to consumers, hpp just may be the answer you’re looking for.