A touch of sourness in a beverage can go a long way, which makes acidulants an important tool for formulators who seek to build well-rounded flavor profiles and a lasting taste experience. Unique organic acid combinations can intensify and lengthen the release of flavor compounds, thus creating a more complex and satisfying experience for the consumer.
Acidulants can smooth the bitter aftertaste of functional ingredients such as plant proteins, botanicals like turmeric, and sports nutrition ingredients such as short-chain amino acids. Acidulants are particularly useful for low-calorie applications because they effectively round out the prolonged sweetness of high-intensity sweeteners including stevia, monk fruit, sucralose and aspartame. This is especially useful as the sourness of some acidulants lasts longer and matches the prolonged sweetness of high-intensity sweeteners, thus providing an improved sweet/sour balance in an application.
In addition to flavor enhancement, there are numerous functional benefits acidulants provide including maintaining pH and functional properties of other ingredients in the food matrix, improving stability of fortified products and reducing costs. The following are considerations for formulators when using acidulants in specific applications.
Overall, a little acid can do a lot to make drinks look and taste better. Not only can acidulants like malic acid, fumaric acid and citric acid smooth, blend and extend an application’s flavor profile, they also help with masking unpleasant-tasting ingredients and provide other functional benefits.
There are many issues that can arise in beverage formulation. Fortunately, when it comes to acidulants, formulators have several versatile options to solve a variety of challenges.
To read more, check out the Drink up: Winning strategies for healthy beverages – digital magazine.
Mohammad Emami has worked in various functions in the food and beverage industry, such as R&D, quality assurance, operational and marketing roles. Today, Emami is Bartek’s senior product manager, contributing to the company’s key growth initiatives for malic and fumaric acid within the food, beverage and pharmaceutical markets. His previous roles were with GLG Life Tech Corp., The Oppenheimer Group and Comensoli Foods.