Lactic acid is naturally present in many foodstuffs. In its solid state, it is white and water-soluble. In its liquid state, it is clear. It is produced both naturally and synthetically. It is formed by natural fermentation in products such as cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, sourdough, meat products and pickled vegetables.
Lactic acid is also used in a wide range of food applications such as bakery products, beverages, meat products, confectionery, dairy products, salads, dressings, ready meals, etc. Lactic acid in food products usually serves as either as a pH regulator or as a preservative. It is also used as a flavoring agent.
Meat, Poultry & Fish
Lactic acid can be used in meat, poultry and fish in the form of sodium or potassium lactate to extend shelf life, control pathogenic bacteria (improve food safety), enhance and protect meat flavor, improve water binding capacity and reduce sodium.
Because of its mild taste, lactic acid is used as an acidity regulator in beverages such as soft drinks and fruit juices.
Lactic acid is effective in preventing the spoilage of olives, gherkins, pearl onions and other vegetables preserved in brine.
Salads & dressings
Lactic acid may be also used as a preservative in salads and dressings, resulting in products with a milder flavor while maintaining microbial stability and safety.
Formulating hard-boiled candy, fruit gums and other confectionery products with lactic acid results in a mild acid taste, improved quality, reduced stickiness and longer shelf life.
The natural presence of lactic acid in dairy products, combined with the dairy flavor and good antimicrobial action of lactic acid, makes lactic acid an excellent acidification agent for many dairy products.
Lactic acid is a natural sourdough acid, which gives the bread its characteristic flavor, and therefore it can be used for direct acidification in the production of sourdough.
Lactic acid is used to enhance a broad range of savory flavors. Its natural occurrence in meat and dairy products makes lactic acid an attractive way to enhance savory flavors.