“An evaluation of the current use of potassium-based salt substitutes in processed foods, in relation to the renal diet.”
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Background Due to the major strain that high blood pressure places on public health services, recommendations have been made regarding the use of salt replacers, primarily potassium chloride. Whilst this may be beneficial for the general population, it raises concerns for those living with reduced renal function and how safe this may be. Aims/Objectives Based on this, the main aim of this project was to identify and evaluate the use of these products within crisps and savoury snacks produced by UK manufacturers. Methods The ingredient lists of crisps and savoury snacks were examined identify whether potassium chloride was being used. If so, the minimum or maximum amount was quantified. A cost analysis was carried out, comparing products containing potassium chloride, against alternatives that did not, to identify any implications on financial status. Results 38 (~10%) of 370 products surveyed were found to contain potassium chloride, with Tesco contributing 31 (81%) of these. Within all products, the maximum and minimum quantities of potassium chloride was estimated, ranging from ≤0.75g KCl per 100g to ≤2.75gKCl per 100g. A total of three products had an identifiable minimum quantity of KCl, equaling ≥ 0.1g, ≥ 0.47g and ≥ 0.5g. Results of a cost analysis found that for products purchased in Tesco that contained potassium chloride, alternative products could be purchased from Aldi for 34% to 74% cheaper. The opposite was true for those purchased from Aldi, as alternatives from Tesco were substantially more expensive, ranging from 14% to 162%. Conclusion Based on the findings of this project, it can be said that currently, potassium chloride is not widely being used as a salt replacement in crisps and savoury snacks.