The canning company Grupo Consorcio and AZTI have developed a pioneering product on the market: anchovy fillets in oil with fifty percent less salt content. That is, the anchovies are preserved in a similar way to traditional ones, and they have the same appearance, texture and aroma, but with a less intensely salty taste.

Low-salt anchovies are a truly innovative product within a traditional sector such as the semi-preserved fish sector, and are the result of today’s consumer trends towards healthier products that help them to maintain a balanced diet. Healthier, more nutritious foods with high organoleptic quality.

The new product opens up novel niches in the market, allowing people that need to control their salt intake to do so without giving up traditional food and flavours

Tailor-made solutions

The new product was initially developed at AZTI’s pilot plant and R&D laboratories, by considering various parameters such as raw material characteristics – with different sources, sizes, maturation methods – and centrifugation process conditions, among others.

Different types of processes were used with the aim of reducing the anchovy salt content, until the final product was obtained and selected, together with the customer and a panel of expert marine product tasters.

The product was validated by carrying out microbiological, physical-chemical and sensory studies, evaluating parameters such as texture, humidity, pH and sodium content. Finally, the process was implemented on an industrial scale at the Grupo Consorcio’s facilities with AZTI’s guidance.

New market niches

As the low-salt anchovies contain around 50% less salt than traditional anchovy fillets, it is a product with a low salt content or light in salt according to European Union Regulation 1924/2006. Given its nutritional characteristics, the new product opens up new niches in the market, accessing consumers that wish to take care of themselves without giving up on the flavour or quality of traditional products.