Sodium content of Gouda cheese down by 10%

Published: 08-03-2016, | Member: FrieslandCampina

FrieslandCampina’s full-fat Gouda cheese and its vacuum-sealed, rindless Gouda now contain 10% less sodium. Low-salt cheese is healthier, but it is not easy to make because cheese is a natural product whose salt content varies.

In 2010, FrieslandCampina’s cheesemakers had already achieved a 14% reduction compared to 2006. Now they have succeeded in lowering the salt content of their Gouda cheese by another 10% without affecting its taste.

Sodium plays a crucial role in the cheesemaking process. It aids the formation of the cheese rind, enhances the flavor and preserves the cheese. Cheese is made by immersing pressed curds in brine. The curds remain there for dozens of hours and the dwell time determines the cheese’s ultimate salt content. Salt content is reduced by shortening dwell times. However, it is difficult to achieve a consistently lower salt content because several factors influence this. The closer to the rind, the saltier the cheese, for instance. And through time, aged cheese dries out and becomes relatively saltier.

Consumers in the Netherlands and many other Western countries ingest too much salt. On average, Western consumers eat approximately 9 grams per day, while 6 grams is a healthy maximum. Reducing the amount of sodium in our diet is better for blood pressure and the cardiovascular system as a whole.

About 10% of the Dutch daily salt intake comes from cheese. Cheese contains many good nutrients, but it has a naturally high salt content. The 3 saltiest products in our diet are bread, cheese and cold cuts. Other big sources of salt are soups, sauces and candy.

Food manufacturers in the Netherlands have signed a covenant with the Dutch government, agreeing to improve the composition of their food products by reducing fat, sugar and salt. Several organizations, including the Dutch Dairy Association and the Dutch Food Industry Federation (FNLI), also signed the covenant. All major Dutch cheese manufacturers have committed to it as well.