Food Salt

Salt is an essential ingredient in our food.  The human body maintains salt (NaCl) levels in our bodies to ensure correct cell function.  Salt is used to enhance the flavour of food and to assist in preserving foods.  Salt is often added at the table to enhance the flavour of a meal.  The majority of salt that we consume is either naturally occurring in the foods we eat or is added or used in the food manufacturing process.

Food grade salt is supplied into the market either as a vacuum salt product or as high quality solar salt product.

In the developed world, vacuum salt is commonly used by food manufacturers because of its superior physical and chemical quality compared with solar salt.  High purity and high quality solar salt can be produced but cannot be completely free of impurities.  In Australia, high end food manufacturers use vacuum salt mainly for the production of milk, dairy and cheese products, in salting sausage casings or when producing products where even small insoluble material in the salt can create quality problems.  A number of Australian manufacturers use solar salt where these small levels of impurities can be tolerated.

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The dairy industry is a large user of salt which is used particularly in the manufacture of cheese.  Salt is also used in the preparation of milk, butter and dried milk powder products.

Salt is a common ingredient used in the curing of meat, fish and vegetable products.  The salt is normally dissolved to form a brine.  The brine is then used to pickle the meat.  Ham, bacon and fish are commonly pickled to preserve the foodstuff and to enhance the flavour.

Salt is used in the preparation of bread and pastry products.  The salt enhances the flavour and improves the texture by assisting in controlling the rate at which the yeast works in the dough.

Sauces including tomato and soy sauce products contain high levels of salt which allows them to act as an excellent source of flavour enhancing when added in the cooking process or applied directly to foods.

Salt is added to canned meat and vegetable products during processing to preserve the foodstuff and enhance shelf life.  These products can typically be stored for extended periods.

Salt has long been an ingredient used is home cooking and is added to foods during preparation and cooking.  Cooking salts are typically medium grain size.  Table salts are finer and normally contain a free flowing agent.  This allows easy pouring of salt from a shaker. 

Small quantities of salt are also supplied into the retail market and include rock salt, flake salt, pink salt and other forms of gourmet product.

Flake salts have a hopper shaped crystal structure which allows them to dissolve quickly on the tongue providing a quick salt sensation when used on foods when served.

A number of pink salts are supplied into the market.  These have a brown, pink or orange colour which is a result of either beta carotene content in the salt or from dissolved metals such as iron or manganese in the brine used to make the salt.   Many of these products have a characteristic sharp rusty taste which comes from the high iron content in the salt.
Rock salt (which is normally a coarse grain sea salt) is commonly used in salt grinders.

High magnesium salts typically have a strong bitter taste which is quickly identified on the palate.

Iodised salts provide health benefit in delivering iodine to the body which in many regions is a common deficiency.  Iodine is naturally sourced from fish and fruit and vegetables but in some areas a lack of iodine in the soil cannot allow sufficient iodine to be delivered via this route.

Low Sodium Salts contain a mixture of Potassium Chloride and Sodium Chloride.

To purchase Australian solar salt products – contact AUSTRALIAN SALTWORKS

For solar salt field and salt refining consulting services – contact AUSSALT


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