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A company commercialising patented technology to produce a salt crystal around 100 times smaller than traditional salt has listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange, and says it is in early-stage discussions with three UK supermarkets to use its product in their own-label ranges.

MicroSalt’s technology made “micron-sized particles” of salt that “dissolve much faster on the tongue, thereby delivering the same sense of saltiness with approximately half the amount of sodium”, it said.

The company is also in talks with suppliers of ready meals and a fast food burger company. It has already secured orders from the Mexican business of “one of the world’s largest food, soft drink and snack manufacturers” and a “national Fortune 500 pharmacy and food retailer”, for use in its crisps and salted nuts lines.

MicroSalt – which had a market capitalisation of approximately £18.5m upon listing – said it had proved its technology could be used in the reformulation of ingredients of crisps, bread, ready meals, and coatings for salted nuts.

Describing itself as a “major potential disruptor in the food market” the company aims to reduce excess sodium consumption. “MicroSalt is not a salt substitute, but simply a salt containing only sodium chloride and non-GMO maltodextrin,” the company said. “Unlike most low-sodium alternatives, MicroSalt does not contain potassium chloride or any other added chemicals, thereby eliminating the bitter aftertaste associated with existing salt substitutes.” 

As a proof of concept, the company created a consumer brand of potato crisps called SaltMe in February 2022, which has since secured listings in more than 400 stores across the US. In October that year, it launched MicroSalt shakers, which are now available on Amazon in the US and UK and in 450 stores in the US.

“We are delighted to announce our successful fundraise and admission to AIM, which is an important step in our development and provides an excellent platform for growth,” said Rick Guiney, CEO of MicroSalt, and founder of US snack food company Classic Snacks.

“The World Health Organization has stated ambitions to reduce sodium intake by 30% by 2025, and MicroSalt is extremely well placed to capitalise upon rising demand for lower-sodium products with our disruptive, proprietary product and manufacturing process,” he added.

MicroSalt has assembled a board of leading grocery names, among them Judith Batchelar, a former director at Sainsbury’s and Safeway, who is non-executive chair. Non-executive director Gary Urmston is a former chief financial officer of Produce Investments and William Jackson Food Group, and his counterpart Dan Emery was VP of sales & marketing at Pilgrim’s Pride.

A September WHO report noted that almost all populations globally were consuming too much sodium, with diets high in sodium associated with raised blood pressure, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, gastric cancer, obesity, osteoporosis, Meniere’s disease and kidney disease.

“Reducing sodium intake is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve health and reduce the burden of noncommunicable diseases, as it can avert a large number of cardiovascular events and deaths at very low total programme costs,” according to the WHO.

Recent research from Queen Mary University of London, published in the Journal of Hypertension, revealed in the past 10 years England had failed to reduce population salt intakes, putting thousands of lives at risk. The analysis claimed results of an originally FSA-led salt reduction programme between 2003 and 2014 had gone into reverse since it was taken over by Public Health England.

MicroSalt said it had noted a “substantial commercial opportunity” in the “changing attitudes of major food companies to reduce sodium”.