Salted flavours becoming popular despite salt-reduction health targets

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 8th October 2012

At a time when food companies are reducing the salt content of their products, it is ironic old-fashioned salted flavours are making a strong market resurgence in Australia, UK and USA.

Global company Bell’s Flavours and Fragrances released their top ten flavour predictions for 2012 at the start of this year, which forecast salted caramel as the top flavour of top 2012.

UK celebrity chef Nigella Lawson has described salted caramel as her ‘food obsession’ claiming that the perfect balance of sugar, fat and salt is ‘bliss.’ Similarly, a resurgence of other salty-sweet foods have been bursting into the scene – with Lindt stating that their dark chocolate block with a dash of sea salt ‘has taken off’ since its 2012 release.

Gloria Jean’s coffee chain in Australia has released a Salted Caramel Latte and Salted Caramel Espresso Chiller into their drink range in August. The salted flavours are apparent in a wide numbers of cafes and eateries serving salted caramel cupcakes, macaroons and beverages. In a statement about the salted caramel menu items, Gloria Jean’s said that the flavour is ‘the perfect sweet infusion of rich, creaming caramel with a savoury hint of salt.’

The salted caramel flavour is also trending into alcoholic beverages, with Stoli Vodka’s ‘Salted Karamel Vodka’ the first of its kind to be released.

This love of salty and sweet combinations claiming a nostalgic link to the flavours of the past, comes at a time when health authorities and large food groups accept the need for salt-reductions. Supermarket groups Coles and Woolworths have set salt-reduction targets, and likewise, food manufacturers under the umbrella of The Australian Food and Grocery Council. The National Heart Foundation is also promoting lower salt levels in the Australian diet.

The salt-reduction campaign has apparently not stopped the growth trend for salty flavours. One analogy from the past may be the growth of new caffeinated beverages such as energy drinks that grew in popularity after the promotion of decaffeinated coffee; or the growth of new ice-cream brands after skim milks and low-fat milks were promoted.