News, Partner Spotlight, Salt Reduction

Sodium Reduction Expert and Partner Spotlight: Mr Hank Dres from SPI Group, USA

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 and chat with local sodium reduction experts and partners. Our second stop in this series is Texas, USA and Mr Hank Dres.

Name: Hank Dres
Role: Technical Sales Manager
Company: SPI Group
Location: Dallas, TX, USA
Qualifications: 47 years in the food industry, undergraduate degrees in dairy and food science. Visiting lecturer at Texas A&M to the food science department.
Expertise area: Dairy and meat applications

So Hank, tell us briefly what it is you do:

Well, I work as a Technical Sales Manager for SPI Group where I cover Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. I’ve been in technical food ingredient sales for 30 years, I started my career in dairy science and now I mainly work with meat processors, spice blenders, and soup manufacturers.

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

Here in the US, sodium reduction hasn’t been a big deal until very recent years. The demand for reduced sodium by consumers really started around the early 2000s and has been steadily increasing since then. Now it’s gearing up a lot.  

How long have you been working specifically with Saltwell’s solutions?

I’ve been offering Saltwell as a natural sodium reduction solution for about 5 years now and I have always really enjoyed working with the Saltwell products.

So, tell us about your experience of working with Saltwell as a sodium reduction solution?

What’s so great about it is that you don’t need to change the formula and you don’t get the bitterness you usually get with other sodium reduction solutions (like potassium chloride). One of the things that I stress when I talk about Saltwell is that it is not a blend! It is a naturally occurring product. Saltwell is also priced more favorably compared to potassium chloride.

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

Well due to the heavy concentration of meat processors in Texas I mainly focus on meat processors and spice blenders. Several of them co-pack for companies who require low sodium. I also work with soup manufacturers. As we all know soup generally contains high levels of sodium, so they are always on the lookout for lower sodium options.

What do your clients say about Saltwell?

They say that it is a very good substitution for regular salt without the high levels of sodium, and this is exactly what their end customers want.

How do you compare the functional and flavor performance of Saltwell to other solutions?

The main thing is that Saltwell is a 1:1 replacement, and it doesn’t have any bitter afternotes. It also blends very easily so there is no need to change the formula. Another important distinction is that Saltwell can be declared simply as a sea salt on the label, whereas when you add potassium chloride separately you have to put that on your label and people perceive potassium chloride to be chemical; and doesn’t seem very healthy or natural.

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

I see more and more trends in sodium reduction. Recently a big account of mine was using Saltwell in a product that was being put into a very large and health conscientious restaurant chain that is very strict about what they sell and serve. They were very pleased to be able to use a naturally occurring salt while lowering the sodium levels of their products.

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

They are welcome to send me an email! []