29 | 10 | 2019

Atacama Salt, 35% less sodium than regular salt

With the current drive to lessen the sodium content in foods, Atacama Salt is a natural product that contains 35% less sodium chloride than regular salt. This product is a near perfect alternative for salt in food manufacturing.

Health experts agree that we consume too much salt in our diets. With more than 75% of sodium coming from processed food, Patagonland is proud to deliver a solution to market that will significantly reduce sodium in food manufacturers’ products while still delivering great taste.

The major difference with the product is that it is exclusively extracted from a million year old underground brine reserves below the Atacama Desert in South America– one of the most dry and sterile environments on Earth. After mineral-rich water is pumped upwards from beneath the desert crust, Atacama salt grains are extracted in a natural, solar-driven process. The sun itself causes the water to evaporate, yielding the naturally occurring salt containing both sodium chloride and potassium chloride. Being a one-grain sea salt lowers the sodium impact in food products without sacrificing on flavour or functionality, which is why it performs and tastes just like ordinary salt.

This unique grain, with only 65% Sodium Chloride, radically lowers the sodium impact in food. But the same grain also contains 30% Potassium Chloride, a mineral appreciated by both doctors and health authorities around the world. The fact that potassium and sodium are both present within the same grain is what makes Atacama salt unique and why it performs just like regular salt.

Intensive tests were conducted on Atacama salt as a functional ingredient and suitable replacement for salt. Salt is mostly used in meat products for the water retention capacity, shelf life and taste. The results of a sensory IPSOS Salt functionality analysis test performed by a trained panel, show no significant difference in sensory properties between hamburgers made with Atacama salt and regular salt.

A different taste panel found that using Atacama salt in meat loaf resulted in a 28% reduction in yield loss during cooking, compared to using regular salt, while having the same appearance and texture. Similarly for processed meats prepared with Atacama salt, the odour, appearance and overall acceptability was detected throughout its shelf-life, compared to regular salt. Basically salt replacement results show that a user will benefit by not losing the unique properties brought on by salt. Atacama salt is labelled as low sodium salt and has the potential to be the next generation of sodium reduction products for the food industry.

The Atacama desert

Atacama, or Desierto de Atacama, is situated west of the Andes mountains in northern Chile. A desert plateau, the Atacama occupies some 105,000 km2 of sand and felsic lava. A number of weather stations there have never reported a single drop of rain and some of the riverbeds have been dry for a long long time.

The Atacama desert is one of Earth´s most sterile areas. High altitude, jet streams, unforgiving sun and bitterly cold nights make life tough for the people who live here, and impossible for anything else. In fact, the Atacama is used by NASA to mimic the harsh environment of Mars while the pollution-free air makes it the best spot on the Globe for space telescopes and observatories.