A key part of Asda’s strategy is to help its shoppers eat better and lead healthier lives. As part of this strategy, the retailer has signed up to the Department of Health’s 2017 targets to reduce salt in food.
Asda offers a variety of own-label crisps, with a number of different flavours and compositional characteristics, so different reformulation techniques were needed to reduce salt levels.
THE ACTIONS TAKEN TO RESOLVE IT
For shaped products, like Asda’s potato loops, where salt is added to the base recipe the retailer worked in partnership with its suppliers. After several trials, the team was able to reduce the amount of added salt in the recipe.
To maintain flavour, Asda worked with suppliers and flavour houses (companies that supply flavour compounds and flavour delivery technology) to modify the flavour profiles of preparations. They met 2017 salt targets by reformulating flavouring to achieve the same taste with less flavouring applied.
In pelleted products, like Asda’s sour cream and onion party bites, salt has an important technical function as it helps the product to evenly expand during cooking. To reduce the salt content of the product, one variety of crisp without additional salt was added to the mix. This approach works well because the nature of the product has a variety of different shapes and textures.
For crisps where customers expect a salty taste, such as salt and vinegar, it is more difficult to reduce salt content. However, by increasing the level of vinegar, Asda was able to change the flavour profile and this compensated for the reduced salt content.
Asda’s Sizzling Hot Beasty Bites proved a challenge for salt reduction. To meet the salt targets a relatively large reduction in salt was needed. This affected the spiciness of the product. Therefore, the best approach was to change the taste profile of the flavour preparation to deliver both the 2017 salt targets and a spicy punch!
As well as achieving reductions in salt, the taste of Asda’s crisps has also improved. For example, Asda’s cheese and onion flavour crisps has been judged to be market leading by the retailer’s customers. As a result of this project alone, Asda has removed over 3.3 tonnes of salt from its own label crisps.