ABSTRACT: In recent years, health concerns related to salt/sodium chloride consumption have caused an increased demand for salt-reduced foods. Consequently, sodium chloride (NaCl) reduction in foods has become an important challenge. The more so, since a decrease in NaCl content is often reported to be associated with a decrease in consumer acceptance. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether or not it would be possible to reduce the NaCl content in standard Western European foods by replacing it with naturally brewed soy sauce. Three types of foods were investigated: salad dressing (n = 56), soup (n = 52), and stir-fried pork (n = 57). In the 1st step, an exchange rate (ER) by which NaCl can be replaced with soy sauce without a significant change in the overall taste intensity was established per product type, by means of alternative forced choice tests. In the 2nd step, the same consumers evaluated 5 samples per product type with varying NaCl and/or soy sauce content on pleasantness and several sensory attributes. The results showed that it was possible to achieve a NaCl reduction in the tested foods of, respectively, 50%, 17%, and 29% without leading to significant losses in either overall taste intensity or product pleasantness. These results suggest that it is possible to replace NaCl in foods with naturally brewed soy sauce without lowering the overall taste intensity and to reduce the total NaCl content in these foods without decreasing their consumer acceptance.
PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Health concerns related to salt consumption cause an increased demand for salt-reduced foods. Consequently, the development of foods with reduced salt content without decreasing the consumer acceptance is an important challenge for the food industry. A new possible salt reduction approach is described in the present article: The replacement of salt with naturally brewed soy sauce.