Reduce Salt in Plant-Based Food

As we enter a year where the trend of plant-based dining is increasing, the pressure for meat alternatives and ready meals to be tastier and more diverse is stronger than ever. The industry has come a long way, and companies are investing time and money into making delicious solutions for a more health and environmentally conscious audience.

As the category grows, so focus is increasing on the ingredients list and health benefits of products.

Plant based meat alternatives tend to require higher levels of seasoning to maximise flavour including varying levels of salt.

75% of plant-based foods are higher in sodium than their meat alternatives

Studies by the Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London have shown that whilst many plant-based options offered better nutritional profiles when it comes to calories and saturated fats, we should still be doing more to keep the sodium levels down.

Nearly three quarters of meat alternatives researched in the study failed to meet the current UK standards for salt, meaning they run the risk of not hitting the October 2022 HFSS targets released by the health authorities.

Salt Content in Plant Based Food compared to Meat

Within the study, they compared a selection of plant-based products against the meat products that they are based on, to see how the salt levels compared.

168 products across 6 categories were analysed including sausages, burgers, plain poultry alternatives, breaded poultry alternatives, mince, and meatballs.

Results showed that the salt content was significantly higher in five out of the six categories.

Plant-based sausages were the most successful with a similar salt content to meat, where the plain plant-based poultry category had more than twice the amount of salt than plain poultry.

How can we make Plant Based Dining Healthier?

Reformulation is one of the techniques that companies have used to help reduce levels of fat, sugar and salt proving success within the UK and worldwide.

Although successful, it requires extra costs and resource as manufacturers try adapting their recipes whilst maintaining their signature taste.

However, what if you could reduce sodium levels in your recipe without having to reformulate?

Reduce Salt in Plant Based Food

Smart Salt® is the only magnesium based sodium reduction formula which acts as a 1:1 replacement for sodium chloride. Reducing levels by up to 60%.

The formula offers the same taste, texture, and functionality of salt, making it easy to work with and great tasting.

During a time where HFSS (high fat, sugar, and salt) foods are under scrutiny of the government and health officials, it is more important than ever to start thinking of what you can be doing to meet the health needs of your customers and future generations.

Salt Replacement Samples – Try for Yourself

Trying a solution such as Smart Salt® for yourself is crucial to understanding its effectiveness.

Why not order a sample for yourself and swap your salt content with Smart Salt®, so you can try its taste, texture, and see how it can help meet the governments targets in time for 2024.


Interested in improving the nutritional profile of your plant-based range? Talk to the team today and see how we can help reduce your sodium levels by up to 60%. Contact us on 01386 761 555 or

Fuel Surcharge Statement

Dear Customer,

I am sure it has already come to your attention that fuel costs are rapidly and continuously increasing as an effect of the horrifying events in Ukraine on top of the overall inflation that was already having an impact. This week we have received communication from all our hauliers notifying us of increased fuel surcharges on all deliveries effective immediately.

Under normal circumstances our quotes/prices are inclusive of delivery however due to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in with the fuel surcharges which are being reviewed daily by our hauliers, we have very little control over the level these will reach and therefore we have no option but to pass these on to our customers.

We understand you will be seeing increases from all areas, so where possible we will try our best to absorb the additional expense but where this is not possible, our customer service team will advise you on an order by order basis of the fuel surcharge that will be added to your invoice.

We will continue to monitor this situation closely and update you accordingly. If you have further questions, please contact your account manager who will be happy to advise.

We hope that the situation will get resolved soon and prices will begin to stabilise but in the meantime we thank you for your continued understanding & support during this difficult time.

Kind regards,

The Brusco Food Group Team

Health questions raised about plant-based meat alternatives

Sainsbury’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mark Given has raised concerns about whether plant-based alternatives always offer a healthier alternative to the meat-based products they are designed to replace.

Speaking at a COP26 event, Given said:

“You’ve got to be really careful of trade-offs in this space. We do worry about some of the salt and fat content in some of the alternatives that are out there.”

This issue has been addressed previously by the campaign group, Action for Salt.

The group’s findings show that some plant-based alternatives can be twice as salty as the meat they replace, as well as being more processed.

HFSS Plant-Based Foods

This comes at a time where discussion around High Fat Salt and Sugar foods (HFSS) is at its highest, as the deadline of October 2022 when new legislation governing the placement, promotion and marketing of products deemed as HFSS comes into force.

As demand for plant-based meat alternatives continues to grow we understand the challenges faced by manufacturers to maximise taste while ensuring healthy product options. One solution that is being used more widely are sodium reduction systems that perform in the same way as salt but enable up to 60% reduction in sodium levels.

Smart Salt® is such a solution. The patented sodium reduction technology from Finland is the only system on the market that is magnesium based and provides balanced minerals for a healthy heart.

If you are looking for ways to make your plant-based products healthier please get in touch to find out more about the benefits of Smart Salt®.

We are available on 01386 761 555 or

What are HFSS Foods & How Does the New Legislation Affect You?

HFSS Foods are products that are considered to have a high level of Fat, Sugar or Salt . They are commonly associated with increasing obesity within children and adults.


In June 2018, the Government published Chapter 2 of the Childhood Obesity Plan. This discussed the issues surrounding the rising obesity crisis in children, and the long-term health effects into adulthood.

The report focused on improving the environment within the food and drink industry and encourages companies and consumers to work together to make healthier foods more visible.

It’s not just down to one group or person to combat the obesity crisis but a joint effort from parents, teachers, local leaders, health professionals and businesses.


The Childhood obesity plan triggered the Department of Health and Social Care to release their policy on ‘how to empower adults and children to live healthier lives’.

The plan not only aims to improve the nutritional content of food and drink, but also increase information found on labelling. This will shake up the way the industry markets its products, creating a more informative environment for consumers.


The biggest disruption for businesses involves limiting promotional opportunities for unhealthy food and drinks. Mainly focusing on those with High FAT, SUGAR or SALT content.

This will target food companies across all retail and food service, drastically reducing visibility and lowering impulse buys on selected items.


From October 2022 any multi-buy/volume promotions, such as ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘3 for 2’ on HFSS foods will be phased out. Only allowing such promotions to be used for healthier goods

Placements in key retail areas such as checkouts, store entrances and online equivalents will also be reserved for products not in the HFSS Foods category.

This will ultimately change the average consumers shopping experience, which has a history of highlighting unhealthy options and encouraging pester power from children.

Food service has also been included in the scheme. Taking out sugar-sweetened drinks from the free re-fills offer.


Prepacked food and drink in a selection of categories will be restricted if they are considered to be HFSS as determined by their nutritional score. Click here for a list of categories included in the plan.

Products can be tested using the Nutrient Profiling Model.

Developed in 2004-05, the profile was created to give Ofcom a tool to work from when differentiating foods on a nutritional basis.  Using a simple scoring system, points are allocated based on nutritional content (per 100g).


The profiling takes into consideration the levels of energy, saturated fat, sugar, and sodium compared to nutrients.

Click here to work out your Nutrient Score.


If you have 50 employees or more within your company and your store is larger than 185.8 SQM, restrictions will apply.

There are some exceptions to specialist retailers. This includes companies who only sell one type of product such as sweet shops or bakeries.


It seems the next area to be tackled will be in TV advertising. The intention being to ban all HFSS food and drink from being shown before 9pm.

Analysis from September 2019 showed that nearly half of all food adverts shown throughout the month across several channels were HFSS foods. This peaked during 6pm – 9pm to nearly 60%, a time where children’s viewings are at their highest.

These plans will help make sure that children are only exposed to adverts which encourage a healthy balanced diet.

The government will also be looking at ways to help reduce and reformulate programmes on salt, sugar, and calories. They have agreed to monitor progress, and adapt the scheme if results are not successful.


The biggest challenge will come from brands having to adapt their recipes to suit new guidelines whilst maintaining their signature taste.

The easiest way to adapt existing recipes and develop new NPD, is to use replacement technologies for salt and sugar.

Many technologies for sodium replacements have been developed over the years, aiming to replicate the taste, texture, or functionality of salt. However, there is only one formula proven to replicate all three successfully, which is Smart Salt®.


A patented sodium reduction technology from Finland, Smart Salt® has been tried, tested, and proven to have the same taste, texture, and functionality of salt.

Used across a variety of applications, it can reduce sodium levels by up to 60%.

The technology is the only replacer in the market which is magnesium chloride based. This can help balance minerals, and human clinical studies have indicated lower blood pressure. Resulting in better heart health.

Due to its 1:1 replacement for salt, crystalline structure, and non-hygroscopic nature it’s very easy to handle.

No need for a change in recipe. You can simply just switch your regular salt to Smart Salt®.

There has been extensive product testing completed on;

    • progressive profiling,
    • consumer acceptance testing,
    • triangle tests,
    • and quantitative descriptive analysis.

All the studies show in favour of Smart Salt® compared to other competitors in the market. There are also instances, where customers have preferred it against salt itself.

In addition to sodium reduction Smart Salt® has the added benefit at reducing microbiological growth in certain applications, when compared to sodium chloride, enhancing shelf life of products.


The proof is in the testing, so please get in touch with the team on to discuss the benefits of Smart Salt® further. Samples are available and we are looking forward to sharing this innovative product with you.


Helpful tips for Reducing Material and Production Costs

As we head further into 2021, we are all faced with ongoing challenges within the supply chain.

Increasing prices of raw materials, packaging and logistics show no signs of reversing this year and distribution is ever plagued by lack of labour and capacity constraints.

The price of oil has risen again by 58% since November 2020 and the global shortage of shipping containers has helped push sea freight costs to newfound heights.

With price inflation hitting from every angle, we all have to adapt and look for every opportunity to lower material and production costs.

Lower Production Costs, not your quality

As a company, Brusco Food Group always steer towards high quality ingredients that offer great taste, ethical credentials, and reliability. We wholeheartedly believe that even when markets are disrupted, it should not be necessary to sacrifice quality to manage costs.

To support our customers, we have been looking at opportunities to reduce costs. We share some ideas below which we hope you find of help.

Drive efficiency

Switch to ingredients that take less time to prepare and that suit your production needs.

We have a range of semi or fully prepared ingredients to eliminate production steps and save time and money.

Why waste resources chopping, slow cooking, frying, or caramelising, when we can provide a product that has been prepared to suit your needs.

Perfect examples of these prepared ingredients include (but not limited to):

More product, less water

A few of our products come in either a more concentrated form or in a powder, such as high fat coconut cream.

More cream, less water when transporting cuts corners and lower storage costs.

Reduce storage costs

Although frozen produce comes with some great benefits, they aren’t for everyone.

Brusco have some ambient alternatives that can help reduce storage and transportation costs.

Look at alternative packaging

The price of packaging materials has risen considerably with steel up by 215% since March 2020.

Evaluating alternative formats particularly for tinned products could save money and lower costs.

Be flexible

Increasing flexibility on delivery times will help avoid additional costs from transportation companies. Timed delivery charges on a regular basis, soon add up.

Keep us in the loop

Sharing your forecasts can help us look for ways to save you money. Be it changing MOQ’s or advising on the best time to contract based on the latest market data.

If we know what requirements you need, we can help you plan.

Talk to the team

The team are always on hand to discuss your upcoming production requirements and to find out more on how to lower production costs, so get in touch so we can help you react and adapt.

Tomato Market: 2021/22 influences

The tomato market roller coaster continues to cast terror into the hearts of all those who dare ride it.

The hangover of shortages from the 2020 harvest will impact availability for the new season, coupled with additional market disruption caused by the widespread boycott of tomato products from the Xinjiang region of China.

2020 Tomato Market Influences

New season volume is expected to be slightly higher than 2020 however, for the last five years, consumption has outstripped supply resulting a net deficit of 4mt at the end of 2020.

This is expected to have increased to a deficit of 5.5mt by the time new season crop is available. As a result, producers need to utilise new season product to satisfy 2020 contracts reducing new season availability and increasing prices.

World Production vs Consumption

Million Tons 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Prelim
Opening stock 2.065 5.005 4.451 3.429 -755 -2.58 -3.987
Production 41.374 38.072 37.797 34.83 37.383 38.39 38.916
Consumption 38.434 38.626 38.819 39.013 39.208 39.797 40.393
Closing stock 5.005 4.451 3.429 -755 -2.58 -3.987 -5.464


The human rights abuses taking place in the Xinjiang area of China has led many UK businesses to stop importing product from this region.

Xinjiang region is the largest tomato production area in China (which accounts for approximately 12% of global tomato supply) and historically has been a big supplier of tomato paste into Europe.

This combined with the overall deficit position will put particular pressure on tomato paste availability as everyone scrambles to secure European supply.  On average you need around 6 mt of fresh tomatoes to create 1mt of 28/30 paste.

Raw Materials Price Pressures

This season has seen a range of price increases on raw materials and logistics. Fresh tomato prices with farmers are up €7-9/mt.

Energy prices have continued to increase, the cost of hot rolled steel for drum making is up over 50% compared to August 2020, new rules on CO2 emissions in 2021 will see a reduction on free rights and logistics costs have been on a continuous upward trend for the last six months.

These market influences have already seen price increases of between 18-21% in Northern and Southern American markets. The expectation is for price increases in Europe between 10-15%,

What do we Recommend? 

Many large volume users of tomatoes were quick to contract for new season due to concerns about availability and price. We are urging all customers to move quickly and secure supply particularly for paste products which will be particularly hard hit this year.

In addition, we would encourage customers to look at alternative products which may help offset some of the price inflation this year. For example, switching to an Extrusso product in place of traditional chopped tomato will save around £25/mt.

Similarly, where production allows using drums over bag in box format will deliver around a £45/mt cost saving.

Get in touch

The Brusco team is always available to answer any of your questions about new season tomatoes so please get in touch on or 01386 761 555 should you wish to discuss.

Chinese garlic market heats up ahead of new year

Recent reports have suggested that the Chinese garlic market is firming due to adverse weather conditions and transportation influences.

After a stable November and December, a sudden increase has been reported in the first two weeks of the year, with flake prices increasing by 14% since the 3rd January 2021.

Weather conditions affecting the garlic market

Current reports suggest the fresh garlic crop for 2021 will be significantly reduced after colder than normal weather conditions in the growing areas.

COVID 19 creating problems in transportation

It’s no secret that COVID 19 has had a huge impact on the transportation industry, intensifying sea freight rates and resulting in fewer blank sailings being announced over the New Year period.

Many exporters have had to include freight increases onto their quotes, to protect themselves from losing money in a time of uncertainty.

Garlic prices predicted to keep rising

Chinese New Year drives higher domestic garlic consumption, mixed with the problems that the market is facing, the prices are looking to keep rising until the end of March 2021. It is suggested to cover short term requirements to minimise price increases.

Talk to the team today on or 01386 761 555 about information on the garlic market and how you can keep your next order in budget.


Are Coconuts Vegan Friendly?

As a fruit/drupe, coconuts are naturally vegan friendly. They are the perfect alternative for those who are either lactose intolerant or living a vegan lifestyle.

However, harvesting techniques used by some suppliers involve cruelty to monkeys which have been widely criticised by PETA and many of our local supermarkets.

Monkeys used for Coconut Harvesting

These harvesting techniques involve capturing or breeding monkeys purely to harvest the fruit.

The monkeys are tethered to their handler or a rubber tyre and they are trained (usually via punishment) to climb and pick up to 1000 coconuts a day. Humans can only pick around 80.

When not being used, the monkeys are then kept in small cages or kept tied to their handler. If they showed signs of aggression, because of stress, their canine teeth are taken.

Taking a Stand against Animal Cruelty

Many supermarkets including Waitrose, Morrisons, Ocado and Co-op along with beauty chain Boots have decided to stop using any coconut producers that use this technique. However, there are still some out there who do not check their sources.

This is the same with many coconut suppliers to manufacturers and food services. The coconut used in ready meals, within restaurants and in drinks may still use coconuts harvested in a cruel way.

Contamination of Coconut Powder

Some coconut powder suppliers use the technique of adding sodium caseinate to their product as an emulsifier.

Sodium caseinate is a dairy protein found in milk products.

Using this technique creates an issue for many customers, especially when they are promoting their goods as vegan certified.

Quality Suppliers, Quality Coconut Ingredients.

Brusco Food Group only use the best factories. Each one goes through a rigorous investigation process, so we know every step of our ingredients journey, from harvest to delivery.

Our factories plantation accounts for a high percentage of the agricultural output. Their farms follow strict standards to ensure that all coconut produce is of the highest quality.

All our coconut ingredients are guaranteed to not use monkeys during the harvest. They also guarantee an ethical, sustainable coconut milk powder with absolutely no dairy and are Kosher and Halal certified.

Talk to the team about Vegan Friendly Coconuts

If you are unsure of where your ingredients are coming from, and need peace of mind, talk to our team today on 01386 761 555 or email Find a list of our vegan friendly coconut ingredients here.

We understand our produce, we know our suppliers and we can offer an open, confident and honest overview of every product we have.


Unpredictable Market for Garlic Ingredients

June 2020 saw a good harvest and yield for Chinese garlic, offering an output of 8 – 8.5 million MT. Levels similar to those last seen in 2018.

Because of the excess volume in garlic, prices at the start of the season were low which triggered earlier international buying activity.

The high quality of the crop resulted in a limited supply of smaller bulbs, which dehydrators typically would use. Dehydrators have had to resort to using the readily available larger bulbs to fulfil demand, pushing up the flake prices.

In mid-June the market started to firm and prices climbed rapidly in reaction to the early surge in purchasing. Compared with the lowest level on the 1st June, pricing for garlic is currently 30% higher.

How can Brusco help with your garlic ingredients needs?

Here at Brusco Food Group we have a fantastic selection of powdered garlic, dehydrated minced garlic and garlic puree, ready for your production preference.

Powdered Garlic

Typically found in seasoning, gravy and dry rubs, this beautifully aromatic powder adds incredible flavour to meats or vegetables. Produced by dehydrating and grounding the garlic to a fine powder ready for use.

Dehydrated Minced Garlic

Long lasting, great tasting and easily added to all savoury dishes, our dehydrated minced garlic is highly popular when it comes to ready meals. Perfect within soups, stews and pastas.

Garlic Puree

Beautiful rich in flavour and smooth in texture, our garlic puree is used within spreads, sauces and casserole style dishes.

Not only does the puree add flavour, but it also takes away the hassle of skinning and crushing of cloves. It also saves hands from that ever-lasting garlic smell. Our garlic puree’s come in either ambient cooked or raw.

We offer stable prices during a turbulent Garlic Ingredients Market

Here at Brusco Food Group we are currently holding garlic stock which we are offering at competitive prices.

Talk to our team today 01386 761 555 or email to discuss your garlic ingredients requirements.

Market update: Tomatoes supply prices on the rise

Tomatoes, the humble fruit that has been keeping European dishes rich, juicy and utterly delicious since the 16th century.

Due to recent weather conditions and the dreaded COVID 19, prices have started to rise and availability starting to fall, causing a knock on effect to customers and manufacturers.

What has caused the tomatoes supply prices to rise?

There are a number of factors contributing to the fall in availability including:

Rainy season delaying transplanting of seedlings.

At the start of the tomato season, we had an unprecedented amount of rain delaying transplanting of seedlings from poly-tunnels to fields.

The result of this is a shorter growing season and a delayed new season harvest.

Typically harvesting would begin towards the end of July, but this year’s harvest won’t start until the start of August.

The risk of rain towards the end of August and early September could prevent farmers from being able to harvest further reducing the available raw material.

Lower yield from previous season.

Last season produced a lower yield, resulting in lower stock being carried over into this season.

Typically producers will aim to cover the balance towards the end of current season contracts with new season product.

As the delayed harvest will not see new season material shipping until September, the market is getting very short and producers are only willing to contract 75% of expected volume due to market uncertainty.

Yet another COVID-19 challenge

Demand for processed tomato products during COVID-19 has seen a huge uplift, particularly in Italy where they have run out of domestic raw materials.

As a result of this, they have been purchasing material from alternative European regions to help cover requirements, taking further stock out of the market.

The shorter production window has had a huge impact on the availability of low brix products such as chopped tomatoes and passata.

There will be significantly less of these vital ingredients in the market, and the price of both has seen a big price increase.

To stop this becoming an issue for our customers, new and current, we are in discussions with several producers trying to get the best prices possible.

We are more than happy to share these prices with you, so please get in touch with the team today on or give them a call on 01386 761555. We will look forward to hearing from you.