A company behind a low-sodium alternative to salt said it is bemused as to why UK supermarkets have given it a wide berth whereas Malaysians have lapped it up.

The Low Sodium Sea Salt Company has just struck a joint-venture deal with Greentrade Industries, based in Kuala Lumpur, to import and market the range of Solo reduced sodium sea salts along with further processed foods that use Solo in the ingredients.

The 30% sodium reduced product, enriched with iodine, will be available to all segments of the Malaysian market and to neighbouring markets.

Leslie Wilson, managing director of The Low Sodium Sea Salt Company, said the interest shown in healthy food products in the Asia Pacific region was “certainly well beyond” anything it had experienced in the UK or Europe.

“Our Solo-Lite consumer packs are now on supermarket shelves in Kuala Lumpur and, as a result, a great many consumers will benefit from a very low-cost solution to what has become a chronic health problem.”

Wilson, speaking on the opening day of the Food Matters Live exhibition, at London’s ExCeL, was incredulous that “it’s on sale on the other side of the world but not in my own back yard”.

He said at 99p for a 400g pack, it was half the cost of almost all comparable products.

“We are not looking to take on the LoSalt brand. We are trying to encourage consumers to take the first step on a path to a healthier diet.

He said it was “a bit of an education job for the retailers” who might be saying it’s inconvenient for consumers because it was in bags rather than a drum.

“Retailers have been selling salt for hundreds of years and found ways of decanting into suitable containers,” Wilson said.

Muhammad Farooq, chairman of Greentrade, said: ”By focusing on hospitals, schools and clinics – as well as the more obvious sectors such as hypermarkets and fast food chains – we feel we can make an important difference to consumer health throughout the region.”