[MedArtSal] How many uses of salt-related products do you know?
When thinking about “salt”, it is very common to first associate it with table salt (also referred to as fine salt) or the coarse salt (unrefined sea salt) that can be both used in food preparation and cooking, coming in different shapes and giving different tastes. Indeed, salt is an historic preserver and flavour enhancer in a wide range of foods. However, it may surprise you, that only about 6% of the salt produced worldwide is used in food. Of the remaining, 12% is used in water cleansing and conditioning processes, 8% in the de-icing of roads and 6% is used in agriculture. The largest part (68%) is used in manufacturing and other industrial processes, and sodium chloride – the principal chemical compound present in salt mineral – is one of the largest inorganic raw materials used by volume.
Sometimes without even realizing it, many derivatives of salt enter our daily lives in the form of various products. Salt-related products are a source of economic wealth for many economic industries such as nutrition, pharmaceutics, Horeca and cosmetics.
One of the specific objectives of the European project MedArtSal, is the testing and transferring of a business management model tailored for salinas owners that will enable their activity to remain competitive and sustainable by the diversification of production. A tourism plan in respect of the biodiversity landscape and a micro-algae production (e.g. Dunaliella Salina) for food and cosmetics will be developed during the implementation of the project, in the costal salina La Esperanza in Spain and the in-land salina Sidi Al-Hani in Tunisia, respectively.
Dunaliella Salina commercial use
The microalga Dunaliella Salina is known for its carotenogenesis and can co-produce high quality protein and β-carotene for human nutrition and animal dietary supplements. Thanks to its richness in carotenoids and vitamins A and E, the microalga is also used in the skin care. It acts as an antioxidant and moisturizer, protecting and softening the skin.
Sodium Chloride use in cosmetics and pharmaceutics
Sodium chloride is known for its high bactericidal and moisturizing power. In cosmetics and pharmaceutics, virgin saline water is often used in the formulation of oral hygiene products, fragrances, skin, hair, nail, suntan, make-up and bath products. The osmotic property of the salts allows to attract liquids from the surrounding areas towards the skin lesions, thus contributing to the rebalancing and recovery of the functionality of the surface hydrolipidic barrier. Sodium chloride also imparts a flavour or a taste to a product. It can also increase the thickness of the aqueous portion of cosmetics and personal care.
Artisanal salinas can generate revenue not only from a good quality salt production but also through the purchase of creative artisanal salt-related products and exploring their potential for tourism. MedArtSal sustainable business model comprises a marketing strategy to facilitate the commercialization of these products. Two fairs in Tunisia and Lebanon respectively are foreseen during the project and they will be key moments to foster networking activities among salinas and entrepreneurs and enable the dissemination of the sustainable tourism packages tailored for fragile but biodiversity-rich environments such as the salinas in Mediterranean countries.