There are many types of gourmet salts available in the market with claims to help differentiate themselves in the eyes of the consumer. Suppliers of some Himalayan pink salt claim that this salt is heathier and tastes better in foods compared to other salts due to the presence of trace minerals. Although there may be differences in color and minor chemical composition compared to table salt, the major component of these salts and most other sea and land salts is sodium chloride. These subtle differences in mineral composition and other impurities may contribute to more than a color difference.
Himalayan pink salt comes from ancient sea salt deposits found in the Himalayan Mountains. It is claimed that the salt is mined in caves by hand and stone ground, suggesting that it is minimally processed. Salts from this region will contain impurities (e.g., minerals) that help define the native geological features of the mountains and characterize the physical properties of the salt. For example, Himalayan salts have varying shades of color including white, pink and dark red. The pink or red color is generally attributed to iron oxide, copper or red marl (clay or silt). Sea salt is produced by solar evaporation of ocean water. Similarly, table salt may be produced by mechanical evaporation of brine. The nature of this crystallization process from brine leads to a highly purified table salt crystal that has fewer impurities—hence its white color compared to the Himalayan salt hues.