The Salt Substitute Market

Salt Substitutes as Table Salt and for Home Cooking

Salt substitutes are used in food processing, as well as in table/cooking salt. The use of salt substitutes in home cooking and as table salt is rather exceptional, and in most cases it is associated with medically advised low-sodium diets. To some extent, the rather exceptional use of low sodium salts in everyday life, may be because of the significantly higher price. At the retail level, salt substitutes are more than ten times more expensive than normal salt. A lack of consumer awareness of the product, and the lack of experience with salt substitutes are other important reasons.

Salt Substitutes in the Food Industry

The use of salt substitutes is much more common in the food industry. Salt substitutes are necessary to produce a wide range of low-sodium dietary food products. They are also used to reduce the salt content of processed food to the limits of voluntary and mandatory salt reduction initiatives. A part of the salt reduction can be achieved without replacement. Customer taste can adjust to gradual reductions of salt. For larger reductions, sodium salt is replaced with mixtures of potassium chloride, magnesium salts, and taste improving agents.

An Estimate of Reduced Salt Volumes

An order of magnitude of the salt reduction can be estimated from the reporting of salt reduction initiatives. Reductions of food salt intake are summed up on a country-by country base, and over the different reporting periods. Only countries and regions with reported reduction initiatives are taken into account. (North America, Central and South America, Western Europe, Japan, China, Other Asia and Oceania). Volume of food salt lessened by about 13% cross reporting periods and regions. This is equivalent to about 3.5 million metric tons of salt.

Estimating Salt Substitute Volumes and Market Value

Different reviews on salt reduction initiatives found that reformulations by the food industry make the strongest contribution to the overall reduction. It seems reasonable to assume that about 20% of the overall salt reduction can be attributed to the reformulation of bread, meat products, and processed food. Sodium replacement in salt substitutes ranges from 20% to 100%. On average, low sodium salts are estimated to contain 50 % salt substitute. As a result, the total volume of salt substitutes is estimated to be in the order of 350 thousand mt. The market value calculates to about 15 billion USD at the retail level.


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