February 4, 2010
From now on, the precious Zielitz crude salt will be refined to highly pure food-grade potassium chloride. Among experts, KCl FCC, FAO, WHO, E 508 is also referred to as KCl Food Grade. At the Zielitz site, K+S have invested about 28 million Euros in building a new production plant to keep with the steadily increasing demand. After the end of the test runs in August 2009 the production facility will be officially inaugurated on 25 September 2009.
Highly pure food-grade potassium chloride (KCl) is used in food and drinks, i.e. during the production of carrageen when preparing whipping cream, in convenience food (i.e. packet soups) and isotonic drinks for mineral fortification. The shelves of supermarkets show an increasing number of potassium-reduced articles referred to as “low sodium” products, i.e. “Balance®Salt” by esco - european salt company.
The market for highly pure food-grade salts is increasing above average. K+S KALI GmbH is eager to participate in this growth. The Zielitz site - as an important production location of K+S KALI GmbH - offers the best conditions to make it possible.
Until now, the Zielitz site has been producing potassium chloride as fertilizer for agriculture and technical potash for most diverse applications in processing industry.
As sodium chloride (NaCl) is the most important mineral for humans and animals, it has been an expensive trading good for a long time. From times immemorial, it has been used for seasoning nearly all kinds of dishes. But not only that: NaCl is an excellent preservative, too. However, the salt intake today generally exceeds the minimum daily need many times over.
For the past few years, there are discussions about possible negative effects on human health in connection with excessive consumption of food-grade salt. As a result, there were calls for having products like packets soups with a reduced NaCl content on the market. Manufacturers, i.e. of convenience food, now have started to address this demand.
However, reducing the content of food-grade salt in finished food can be done up to a certain lower limit only, which may vary depending on the product used. The consequences reducing NaCl excessively are flavour changes, an impact on the production process and changes in quality (appearance, elasticity etc.) of the product in question.
Science & research and the food industry used to be and still are looking for alternatives to food-grade salt without affecting the product properties of long-life food due to the reduction of NaCl.
Since potassium chloride chemically most closely resembles to food-grade salt, it has already successfully adopted an important position in table salt substitutes and low sodium food at international level. In this context, KCI is able to take on flavour-related functions and act as processing aid, i.e. for preservation.
In co-operation with a number of research facilities, K+S KALI GmbH is currently working on designing recipes for low sodium finished food. At present, investigations are being performed with respect to convenience food to determine up to what amount of KCl FCC, FAO, WHO, E 508 can be used as a substitute for NaCl without producing any adverse changes in the properties compared with those products not labelled as "low sodium".
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