News, Partner Spotlight, Salt Reduction

Sodium Reduction Expert and Partner Spotlight: Dr Paul Sheldrake and Genna Freeman-Dennis from the Healy Group

Where would sodium reduction be without technical experts who spend hours, days and months supporting food producers? In this series we sit down for a coffee & chat with local sodium reduction experts and partners. Our third stop in this series is Leicestershire, with Dr Paul Sheldrake & Genna Freeman-Dennis.


Name: Dr Paul Sheldrake
Role: Group Application & Technical Director
Company: Healy Group
Location: UK & Ireland
Qualifications: BA, MA, DPhil (Chemistry), MRSC CChem, FIFST CSci
Expertise area: Functional food ingredients, texturizers, starches, binding systems, plant proteins





Name: Genna Freeman- Dennis
Role: Application Specialist
Company: Healy Group
Location: UK & Ireland
Qualification: Bsc Food Science and Nutrition
Expertise area: Food Ingredients – Product Development




So, Paul and Genna, tell us briefly what it is you do:

Paul: Well I lead the technical and application development side at the Healy Group. This means understanding how our raw materials perform technically in products and helping customers to apply these solutions when they create their new food developments. I am also involved in finding new, innovative and market relevant products and raw materials that we help our supplier partners introduce to the market to help make the next generation of new products.

Genna: And my primary role is to support and work closely with the sales team by using the portfolio of functional food ingredients in order to help our customers develop new and innovative products. I am responsible for the creation and evaluation of almost every application of manufactured food products.

And how long have you been working with sodium reduction solutions and Saltwell?

Paul: Over six years now, since joining the Healy Group. I was one of the first contacts with Saltwell, to explain how the Healy Group would be able to help customers advance their salt reduction solutions by working in close partnership with Saltwell.

Genna: About two and a half years.

Can you tell us about your experience of working with Saltwell as a sodium reduction solution?

Paul: In essence the experience is very easy as it works universally as a 1:1 salt replacement, thus it is easy to explain, and the customers can see immediate impact on their reduction objectives with the minimal amount of change needed to achieve the desired salt reduction.

And what types of food producers and applications do you work with the most?

Genna: I work on many salt reduction applications, and carry out a lot of work in soups, sauces, bakery, and snacks. One of my recent favourites has been a lower sodium puffed cracker type snack.

Paul: We work with almost everyone and everything and are active in almost all areas of manufactured food products as we have a wide range of solutions that help with a diverse range of customer challenges. We’re driven by the needs of our customers that reflect the market and consumer drivers in the UK and Ireland.

What do your clients say about the applications you develop with Saltwell, and how do you compare the functional and flavour performance of Saltwell to other solutions?

Paul: The nature of Saltwell means that it’s functional and flavour performance is superb in salt reduction with minimal changes to flavour profiles and product performance functionality.

Genna: On the whole the Saltwell developed applications are very well received. I have experienced no issues with functionality, and with flavour Saltwell is by far the best replacement that I have come across!

What trends have you seen recently and where do you see the UK heading with regards to salt and sodium reduction?

Genna: The UK government are putting restrictions on productions that are high in fat, salt and sugar.  This restricts the promotion and placement in retail stores and their online equivalents of certain foods and drinks that are high in fat, salt or sugar or ‘less healthy’.  Therefore we are seeing a big push to achieve a lot of salt targets, for which Saltwell is working incredibly well.

Paul: Yes, the HFSS targets are now starting to be really focused on, and thus salt reduction as part of these overall reduction targets means that there is a lot of activity that is urgently needed by our customers to achieve these targets. We are actively helping many customers to achieve these and Saltwell is the way to go and the massive first step for the salt reduction part.

To wrap up guys, how can people get in touch with you?

Paul: The best way is via our UK and Irish offices where we have the team to be able to take enquiries and then allow us to demonstrate how we can help the salt reduction targets.

Genna: What he said : )