With the current drive to lessen the sodium content in foods, SALTWELL is a natural product that contains 35% less sodium chloride than regular salt. This product is a near perfect alternative for salt in food manufacturing.

Health experts agree that we consume too much salt in our diets. With more than 75% of sodium coming from processed food, Cerebos along with their partners Salinity, is proud to deliver a solution to market that will significantly reduce sodium in food manufacturers’ products while still delivering great taste.

The major difference with the product is that it is exclusively extracted from a million year old underground brine reserves below the Atacama Desert in South America– one of the most dry and sterile environments on Earth. After mineral-rich water is pumped upwards from beneath the desert crust, SALTWELL grains are extracted in a natural, solar-driven process. The sun itself causes the water to evaporate, yielding the naturally occurring salt containing both sodium chloride and potassium chloride. Being a one-grain sea salt lowers the sodium impact in food products without sacrificing on flavour or functionality, which is why it performs and tastes just like ordinary salt.

This unique grain, with only 65% Sodium Chloride, radically lowers the sodium impact in food. But the same grain also contains 30% Potassium Chloride, a mineral appreciated by both doctors and health authorities around the world. The fact that potassium and sodium are both present within the same grain is what makes SALTWELL unique and why it performs just like regular salt.

Intensive tests were conducted on SALTWELL as a functional ingredient and suitable replacement for salt. Salt is mostly used in meat products for the water retention capacity, shelf life and taste. The results of a sensory IPSOS Salt functionality analysis test performed by a trained panel, show no significant difference in sensory properties between hamburgers made with SALTWELL and regular salt.

A different taste panel found that using SALTWELL in meat loaf resulted in a 28% reduction in yield loss during cooking, compared to using regular salt, while having the same appearance and texture. Similarly for processed meats prepared with SALTWELL, the odour, appearance and overall acceptability was detected throughout its shelf-life, compared to regular salt. Basically salt replacement results show that a user will benefit by not losing the unique properties brought on by salt. SALTWELL is labelled as low sodium salt and has the potential to be the next generation of sodium reduction products for the food industry.

The Atacama desert

Atacama, or Desierto de Atacama, is situated west of the Andes mountains in northern Chile. A desert plateau, the Atacama occupies some 105,000 km2 of sand and felsic lava. A number of weather stations there have never reported a single drop of rain and some of the riverbeds have been dry for a long long time. The Atacama desert is one of Earth´s most sterile areas. High altitude, jet streams, unforgiving sun and bitterly cold nights make life tough for the people who live here, and impossible for anything else. In fact, the Atacama is used by NASA to mimic the harsh environment of Mars while the pollution-free air makes it the best spot on the Globe for space telescopes and observatories.


SALTWELL’s open, blue salines – the ponds where water is evaporated by the sun itself – require no filters or roofs. Although the air is full of oxygen, there are no birds, bees or bugs.

A unique grain

To meet government requirements concerning the salt content of manufactured products, the food industry has struggled for many years to find an artificial solution. Either by altering their recipes, and thereby sacrificing the brand’s values and consumer appreciation, or by compensating with blends that only approximate the taste of the original formula. Unfortunately, these blends often have a harsh and bitter edge to them, not to mention problems with consistency throughout each batch. With only 65% sodium content, SALTWELL’s unique grain radically lowers the sodium content of any product to which it is added. There is rarely any need to change the original recipe of a product when switching from ordinary, high-sodium salt to SALTWELL with its lower sodium content.

All eyes on salt

For many decades, local and regional health authorities throughout the world have been closely monitoring salt consumption among the general public. In recent years, this has led to global attempts to set requirements and standards for the international food industry. As approximately 75% of all the salt we consume comes from processed foods, this is becoming an urgent matter throughout the industry. The pressure from governments and legislation is already palpable and many food manufacturers feel they are on the horns of a dilemma: either they must lower the sodium content of their products and lose brand value, taste and customers or spend time and effort negotiating with public authorities and the media.

The extraction process

30 metres below the Atacama desert crust we pump up the mineral-rich sea water that forms the SALTWELL crystal. The land in this part of the desert consists of solidified salt, mud and lava. Nothing can survive or grow in this environment. Yet beneath the surface are the murmuring waters of an underground lake with a unique composition of earth minerals.

The mineral rich sea water is pumped into large ponds from several pumping stations throughout this great desert.The strong rays of the sun slowly evaporate the water as it is transferred in steps from one pond to the next. Unique SALTWELL crystals form completely naturally in the final pond. Once it has dried in the sun, the salt is gathered into heaps for further drying to take place. SALTWELL is then packed into bags and placed in storage.There are facilities here for further drying of the salt, as well as the addition of anti-caking agents and iodine.