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Clean Label acidity regulators

preservative lactic acid lemon juice ph hummus citric acid

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#1 Samurai Sam

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 08:50 AM

we are a company who doesn't use preservatives.we recently started producing hummus and have some queries.

Are there ways and products to lower the PH of a product (in our case Hummus) with something natural occurring (not concentrated lemon juice) that is not deemed to be a preservative? Ideally we don't want to use citric acid as it is a preservative. we are already using lemon juice and we cannot use any more as the recipe will alter massively if used. can any one suggest the options for clean label ph lowering ingredients in market?

Is Lactic acid a preservative?

Can Lactic acid be used to lower the PH of a product? will this be treated as clean label?

 



#2 Dr.Khan

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 10:09 AM

Hello Samurai Sam

 

There are several options for u to choose from

1. Citric acid

2. Cultured Dextrose

3. Acetic acid

 

My choice will be citric acid as it is natural ingredient



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#3 pHruit

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 10:23 AM

I think you need to clarify what "clean label" means in your case - the general view in the UK seems to be that if it has an E-number / is within the scope of the additive regulations (1333/2008) then it's not clean label, but some brands/retailers do have slightly differing interpretations. Whether this makes rational sense from a scientific, quality or food safety perspective is a rant for another day ;)

As lactic acid is a functional ingredient I'd expect it to unfortunately probably not meet your clean label requirement?

 

pH can be a slightly complex issue to solve, as the buffering capacity of the recipe has a very significant impact on how much a given quantity of acid will actually reduce/raise the pH.

What is the specific limitation on adding more lemon juice - flavour, additional moisture, something else altogether?

I have worked with quite a few hummus producers doing "clean label" and all successfully use just lemon juice for pH control. One possibility to consider is therefore perhaps a question of whether there is a more suitable form of lemon juice for what you're trying to accomplish, and whether any other (hopefully small) recipe tweaks are needed to make it workable.
It would therefore be useful to know what lemon you're currently using - if you can provide a rough tolerance for Brix, pH and acid content from your Lemon Juice raw material spec then this may throw up some points to consider.

As a further idea that I sometimes find helpful - it can be useful to see how other people are solving an issue, and with a product like clean-label hummus there are own-label products from pretty much all the UK retailers. I'd recommend visiting Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Waitrose, M&S et al (or their websites) and having a look at what is / isn't in their products.



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#4 Samurai Sam

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 12:57 PM

Hello Samurai Sam

 

There are several options for u to choose from

1. Citric acid

2. Cultured Dextrose

3. Acetic acid

 

My choice will be citric acid as it is natural ingredient

 

Dear Humaid,

 

I heard that the citric acid is commercially artificially derived and not from natural sources. i heard it is a very expensive process to make citric acid commercially from natural sources.

is this not true?



#5 pHruit

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 01:58 PM

Commercial production of citric acid is usually via a fermentation of a carbohydrate source. Whether this is "artificial" is perhaps a matter of semantics, but for formal labelling purposes in the UK, generally this would not meet the requirements for the use of the term "natural" due to the extensive processing involved - see for example the attached FSA guidance.

I believe it is still possible to purchase citric acid derived from lemons (or other citrus) but this is less efficient, hence being by far the smaller part of the citric acid market as compared to that which is produced industrially by fermentation processes, and thus likely to be more costly. Lemon juice is typically around 5% citric acid, so as a proportion of the total weight of a whole lemon this figure is even lower - you therefore need to process a lot of lemons to obtain useful quantities of citric acid for industrial-scale food manufacturing ;)

It's also somewhat academic for labelling purposes, as again the level of processing would preclude the use of a general "natural" claim for it.

And either way, they're both likely to fall foul of most brands' interpretations of what "clean label" means.

 

 

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#6 Samurai Sam

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Posted 03 June 2019 - 04:33 PM

Commercial production of citric acid is usually via a fermentation of a carbohydrate source. Whether this is "artificial" is perhaps a matter of semantics, but for formal labelling purposes in the UK, generally this would not meet the requirements for the use of the term "natural" due to the extensive processing involved - see for example the attached FSA guidance.

I believe it is still possible to purchase citric acid derived from lemons (or other citrus) but this is less efficient, hence being by far the smaller part of the citric acid market as compared to that which is produced industrially by fermentation processes, and thus likely to be more costly. Lemon juice is typically around 5% citric acid, so as a proportion of the total weight of a whole lemon this figure is even lower - you therefore need to process a lot of lemons to obtain useful quantities of citric acid for industrial-scale food manufacturing ;)

It's also somewhat academic for labelling purposes, as again the level of processing would preclude the use of a general "natural" claim for it.

And either way, they're both likely to fall foul of most brands' interpretations of what "clean label" means.

Dear Phruit,

 

many thanks for your comments.

 

we don't want to claim natural. but we claim "no preservatives" and it is in our policy not to use any artificial flavours and preservatives. we tried using concentrated lemon juice, but it is altering the taste massively. only fresh lemon juice is doing the trick. we will do a batch tomorrow and add lemon juice until the required pH is obtained and by replacing water with lemon juice. I will let you know how it went.

 

if we use citric acid, obviously as you have said it is fermented and not sure if we can claim as no artificial preservatives. neither we can use lactic acid as i get it from this thread.

 

lot of hummus companies are using concentrated lemon juice as i came to know and some are using citric acid. unfortunately it is a challenge for a company like us to survive in this competitive world with no preservatives  :headhurts:



#7 pHruit

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Posted 04 June 2019 - 09:00 AM

Pedantic point - there is no such thing as an "artificial flavour" in the EU any more. I'm still shocked at how many labels have "no artificial flavours" on, but clearly the regulators are somewhat indifferent, as I can't see how this is anything other than a very clear contravention of Article 7(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 - there is literally no food on sale in Europe that contains an "artificial flavouring", as the definition no longer exists as a legal name since Regulation (EC) 1334/2008 came into force years ago. Sorry, rant over, back to your predicament :ejut:

 

I don't see a significant issue with the "no added preservative" claim, as citric acid is used as many things other than a preservative (it's not like e.g. Potassium Sorbate, where the primary use is as a preservative) and you probably won't be declaring it as a preservative - the specific function it is performing in your product is increasing the acidity, so I'd guess you'll be declaring as something like "Acid: Citric Acid" (see Annex I of Regulation (EC) 1333/2008 for the various "functional classes" for additive declaration). This would be broadly the same for any other acid you'd used (e.g. the lactic suggested above).

Do be aware that it will still have some impact on taste, although you won't get the increasing lemon flavour that comes with adding more lemon juice.

 

If you're still wary of the citric acid option and/or want to persevere with lemon as the more "natural" approach then could be worth trying some different lemon juices, as I know this works successfully for the majority of the hummus produced in the UK. By "fresh" lemon juice, do you mean directly pressed from lemons in the UK?

Personally I'd be inclined to try:
Lemon Juice NFC - similar characteristics to "fresh" lemon juice, but widely available in aseptic drums / bag in box, so a nice low incoming micro count and long shelf life.

Lemon Juice Concentrate 30-32 Brix - fairly standard option so widely available, works out cheaper per kg of lemon juice, and I know that it can work well for hummus.

Lemon Juice Concentrate 400GPL or 500GPL - highest acidity levels you're likely to routinely find available (it is possible to go higher, but not common to do so as it can be quite detrimental to the flavour profile), and whilst I don't think it'd be necessary to use either of these, it may be an option to try if nothing else is working for you.



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#8 Samurai Sam

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 09:15 AM

Pedantic point - there is no such thing as an "artificial flavour" in the EU any more. I'm still shocked at how many labels have "no artificial flavours" on, but clearly the regulators are somewhat indifferent, as I can't see how this is anything other than a very clear contravention of Article 7(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) 1169/2011 - there is literally no food on sale in Europe that contains an "artificial flavouring", as the definition no longer exists as a legal name since Regulation (EC) 1334/2008 came into force years ago. Sorry, rant over, back to your predicament :ejut:

 

I don't see a significant issue with the "no added preservative" claim, as citric acid is used as many things other than a preservative (it's not like e.g. Potassium Sorbate, where the primary use is as a preservative) and you probably won't be declaring it as a preservative - the specific function it is performing in your product is increasing the acidity, so I'd guess you'll be declaring as something like "Acid: Citric Acid" (see Annex I of Regulation (EC) 1333/2008 for the various "functional classes" for additive declaration). This would be broadly the same for any other acid you'd used (e.g. the lactic suggested above).

Do be aware that it will still have some impact on taste, although you won't get the increasing lemon flavour that comes with adding more lemon juice.

 

If you're still wary of the citric acid option and/or want to persevere with lemon as the more "natural" approach then could be worth trying some different lemon juices, as I know this works successfully for the majority of the hummus produced in the UK. By "fresh" lemon juice, do you mean directly pressed from lemons in the UK?

Personally I'd be inclined to try:
Lemon Juice NFC - similar characteristics to "fresh" lemon juice, but widely available in aseptic drums / bag in box, so a nice low incoming micro count and long shelf life.

Lemon Juice Concentrate 30-32 Brix - fairly standard option so widely available, works out cheaper per kg of lemon juice, and I know that it can work well for hummus.

Lemon Juice Concentrate 400GPL or 500GPL - highest acidity levels you're likely to routinely find available (it is possible to go higher, but not common to do so as it can be quite detrimental to the flavour profile), and whilst I don't think it'd be necessary to use either of these, it may be an option to try if nothing else is working for you.

Hi pHruit,

 

very useful information. thanks a lot.

I will look for those lemon juices. also will explore citric acid.



#9 Scampi

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Posted 05 June 2019 - 02:20 PM

I personally feel you'll have much better luck with your flavour profile using acetic acid to adjust pH and be clean label

 

The acetic acid will adjust your pH more readily while maintaining your flavour profile

 

As it is a naturally made ingredient, you won't have any clean label issues, you can also get certified organic vinegar as well


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