While Kraft is embarking on a company-wide plan to reduce sodium in their food products, the mad scientists at PepsiCo are trying to do them one better. They’re about to start making a new “designer salt” for their Lay’s brand potato chips that they claim will reduce the amount of sodium you consume without losing any of that great sodium taste.
The salt, which will be manufactured at a plant in Plano, TX, has crystals that are shaped in such a way as to more readily dissolve on your tongue. PepsiCo says that only about 20% of salt on potato chip ever gets tasted, meaning 80% of it goes into your system without you ever knowing (until your blood pressure goes up). The company hopes that the new salt could cut sodium levels in Lay’s Classic chips by 25% and more in seasoned Lay’s products.
PepsiCo also claims that the designer salt replicates that “salt curve,” i.e., the general flavor arc customers expect. They say that initial taste tests showed test subjects couldn’t tell the difference.
“We have to think of the whole eating experience—not just the physical product, but what’s actually happening when the consumer eats the product,” explains one of the scientists involved in the salt.
The new salt, which is still in the test and development stages, is probably two years away from hitting the nationwide market. It’s just one portion of PepsiCo’s long-term plan to make healthier products. They announced today that they hope to reduce sodium by an average of 25% over the range of their products in the next five years. They also told investors about their intention to cut saturated fat by 15% and sugar by 25% by 2020.