The Uses of Citric Acid in the Food Industry

As a citric acid supplier, we know that most people associate citric acid with citrus fruits – oranges, lemons, and grapefruit, for instance. Citric acid also occurs in peppers, tomatoes, artichokes, and most berries. For humans, citric acid is a vital component of the Krebs cycle in metabolizing and oxidizing fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. The food industry utilizes citric acid in a much different fashion, with its marvelous acid fermenting, catalyzing, preserving, and flavoring foods and beverages.

  • Cheese Manufacturing: – The cheese industry uses citric acid, particularly with mozzarella. It utilizes citric acid as a catalyst to quickly ferment milk. Faster fermentation means large-scale operations can create cheese more rapidly.

  • Shelf Life: Bacteria needs a stable pH to survive. Because citric acid reduces the pH to levels too low for most bacteria, the shelf life of processed foods increases dramatically for jams and jellies, canned foods, meat products, and other foods.

  • Taste: Along with preserving carbonated beverages, teas, and juices, citric acid adds the sour or acidic flavor consumers enjoy.

  • Emulsifier: Citric acid acts as a vegetable fat emulsifier. Because fats are unable to coagulate, ice cream and sherbet retain a consistent texture and flavor throughout.

  • Effervescence: When coupled with sodium bicarbonate, citric acid effervesces. Fizzy candies, carbonated beverages, and powdered drinks, as well as antacid tablets and powders, owe their effervescence to this chemical reaction. In fact, approximately 50% of citric acid production is utilized in beverages.

  • Beer & Wine: Because citric acid is a weak acid, it is often utilized to create an acidic environment in beer and wine production.

  • Absorption: Many common vitamins and minerals work more expediently within an acidic pH environment. Citric acid is used in dietary supplements to accelerate absorption. Also, without citric acid, a vitamin C tablet would taste quite bitter.

To learn more about citric acid or any of our other products, contact the citric acid supplier, Bell Chem, at 407-339-BELL (2355).