Fredrik Enander: Sodium chloride is a vital nutrient and is essential for many bodily functions. However, the use of sodium chloride throughout the world is very high, especially in prefabricated foods and ready meals. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the average daily salt consumption is twice the recommended amount, which is far too high and contributes to an increase in heart disease. Research shows there is a stronger connection between high salt consumption and heart diseases than between smoking and lung cancer. 2.5 million lives could be saved every year by reducing the sodium intake to WHO's recommended level.
Potassium is considered an essential nutrient by doctors and health authorities around the world. Together with sodium, potassium regulates the fluid and acid-base balance in the body. The more sodium we ingest, the more potassium is needed to maintain a balance. While 90% of Americans consume too much sodium, less than one in 10 get enough potassium.
Because of our natural extraction process, our product is approved in the US and other countries to be sold simply as sea salt. It can be swapped 1:1 for other salts in most recipes, bringing the sodium level down to 65% without compromising the great taste that comes with normal sea salt. By contrast, salt blends that use free potassium are not clean label, and they have an unpleasantly bitter taste, which means flavour-masking agents often need to be added.
Saltwell salt comes from a million-year-old underground sea below South America's Atacama Desert, the driest place in the world outside the polar regions. It's a uniquely arid and sterile environment used by NASA to mimic the surface of Mars. As you get closer you see less and less vegetation; there's no animal life. By the time you come up to the salines, there's nothing.
After the mineral-rich brine is drawn up into the salines, the sun itself causes the water to evaporate. No filters or roofs are required, as, although the air is full of oxygen, there aren't even any bugs. During the natural drying process, the sodium crystallises with potassium into one grain, making Saltwell a uniquely healthy and clean label sea salt.
For us, the important thing is making this unique natural resource food grade. We have many years of experience with a variety of different salts, so we pay close attention to the quality of our products. To meet increasing demand, we recently moved our cleaning and quality assurance operations to a BRC-certified facility in Cyprus.
Even before we transport the product, we carry out a lot of chemical analyses to check that nothing is wrong with it. It can't have too many trace materials, for instance. That said, as there are no insects in the Atacama, we don't have to worry about things like that. It's a very clean environment.
Once the product reaches the facility in Cyprus we clean it further using metal traps, cyclones, dryers and more. We also wash it with clean salt water, which can't absorb any of our grains. This is all vital in creating an assured product. As Saltwell salt is entirely natural, many things can vary. We ensure each batch matches the specification we promise to the customers through a lot of analyses and tests. Finally, we pack it in bags that we send to distributors across the globe.
Since we moved the cleaning to Cyprus we have further improved the quality with much more stable specification, better control of trace materials, and so on. The product is also less humid now, which means it has less of a tendency for caking and flows better.
We have new organic and microfine - which is a fine powder - versions. The latter is especially suited for snacks but can be used for many other applications.