Arby's loaded Italian sub sandwich
Applications for permeate include a range of foods such as sausages, luncheon meat and other fully cooked meat and poultry products.
In recent years, permeate has emerged as a partial replacement for sodium chloride in meat and poultry products. Permeate is a co-product of the production of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, ultrafiltered milk, milk protein concentrate or milk protein isolate, ingredients used in many foods and beverages for protein fortification. To concentrate the protein in these ingredients, select components are filtered out. What gets filtered – permeate – can assist with sodium reduction.

Researchers are not clear as to the specific components of permeate responsible for the salty properties. While the mechanisms are uncertain, it is possible that the non-protein nitrogen compounds – urea, creatine, creatinine, uric acid, orotic acid and ammonia – may serve as flavor potentiators. The mineral salts – calcium phosphate, magnesium, sodium and potassium – may function as salt enhancers.

Applications include a range of foods including fully cooked meat and poultry products, such as sausages and luncheon meat, as well as the breadings, sauces and fillings used with many meat and poultry products. Permeate is labeled simply as dairy product solids on the ingredient panel and has minimal contribution to sodium content.

“In addition to reducing the sodium in meats, permeate can enhance browning, mask bitter flavors and improve structure formation,” says Kimberlee Burrington, dairy ingredient applications coordinator, Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, Madison, Wisconsin. “The lactose in permeate provides an effective starter culture carbohydrate for the preparation of fermented sausages and cooked hams.”

In general, 10 to 11 grams of permeate will replace 1 gram of salt, or 3 to 4 grams of delactosed permeate will replace 1 gram of salt in a formulation. When used to reduce sodium in breadings such as those for chicken nuggets, it is recommended to balance the addition of permeate or delactosed permeate by reducing other macro-ingredients such as flour, fat, eggs, granulated sugar and other carbohydrates. In many instances, a total cost-reduced formula can also be achieved as permeate replaces other more costly ingredients.