EDE, THE NETHERLANDS – Researchers at NIZO in The Netherlands found that people perceived sausages to be saltier after the researchers increased the serum levels, and thus the juiciness, of the sausages. Using this practice, a salt reduction of 15% or more may be achieved while retaining the same salt perception, according to the researchers.

“We have already developed innovative clean label solutions for the reduction of salt in bread, cheese and meat while retaining a good taste,” said Fred van de Velde, senior scientist and project manager. “These include natural salt enhancers, enhancement through inhomogeneous distribution, and recently the enhancement by serum release. With this technology a salt reduction of at least 15% and possibly 40% can be achieved.”

The researchers used sausages with low and high serum release at three salt levels. A trained quantitative descriptive analysis panel rated the saltiness, firmness and juiciness of the sausages. They perceived sausages with a high serum release as significantly saltier than those with a low serum release. The perceived juiciness results from the amount of serum that is pushed out of the meat matrix while chewing and the ability of the tissue to bind water, according to NIZO, an independent contract research company.