April 28, 2010
SACRAMENTO, Calif.The California Dried Plum Board released a technical bulletin detailing how dried plum ingredients offer food manufacturers opportunities to reduce the amount of added salt in formulations without negatively impacting formula flavor objectives and maximizing consumer flavor expectations.
According to the technical bulletin: Dried plums contain about 1.5-2.0% naturally occurring malic acid, an organic acid shown to be an effective flavor enhancer. Malic acid is released more slowly than other organic acids and thus has a greater carry-through during the chewing process. Taste retention allows for up to a 20-25% reduction in salt added to food formulations permitting other formula flavor contributors to become more perceptible. Further, malic acid intensifies the impact of many flavors in foods or beverages, often reducing the amount of flavor needed; blends distinct flavors, resulting in a well-rounded flavor experience; improves aftertaste by extending the impact of some flavors; boosts savory flavors like cheese and hot peppers in snack food coatings, and deepens and broadens the flavor profile of many products.
Two food product categories where dried plums have been particularly effective in reducing added salt are baked goods and processed meat products. Dried plums perform many of the same functions as salt when added to baked goods and substitutes for these salt functions when salt is reduced in the formula. In meat products, dried plums have been shown to function in many of the same ways as salt, particularly in water-binding, moisture retention, tenderizing, as a preservative and as a flavor enhancer.
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