6.4 Food acids

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- Acetic acid

Acetic acid is in use as solutions of various concentrations which are known under the generic name of vinegar. Vinegar can be obtained:

a) from wine, alcohol, cider, beer, etc. by fermentation;

b) by dilution of acetic acid obtained by dry wood distillation or by synthesis.

From a quality point of view, wine vinegar is preferred, as it has a more pleasant flavour. In order to improve taste, other vinegar types are usually flavoured with spices.

In addition to its spicing and flavouring role, vinegar is used and acts as a preservation agent for some vegetables: cucumbers, acidified vegetables, etc.

6.5 Pectic preparations

In fruit processing there many preparations and mixes known as "pectin" are used as liquid or powder extracts.

From a practical point of view, the pectic preparations are classified as:

The fruit industry uses mainly strong pectins. These preparations are characterised, from a commercial point of view, by the capacity of gelification, expressed in degrees. The degree of gelification represents the quantity of sugar in grams able to be transformed in a standard gel (65% sugar and pH=3) by 1 g pectin.

6.6 Intensive sweeteners

"Calorie-reduced" and "low-calorie foods are widely used and are cornering an increasing share of the market. Sweeteners are making an important contribution to the manufacture of sweet foods in these categories. They make it possible to manufacture sweet products without "sweet" being necessarily synonymous with "high-calorie".

Diabetics need to restrict their intake of sugar and various carbohydrates similar to sugar or avoid them altogether. Sweeteners enable diabetics to enjoy sweet tastes without changing their lifestyle. Sweeteners do not contribute to the development of tooth decay; they do not degrade in the mouth to form the acids which are responsible for caries. Thus sweeteners offer consumers a number of advantageous and favourable properties above and beyond merely reducing calories.

Sunett is the trade mark of Hoechst AG for its high intensity sweetener acesulfame K. As an ingredient, it can be used for sweetening all foods produced industrially or at home, or to produce tabletop sweeteners. Like all other sweeteners, Sunett tastes more intensely sweet than sugar; it is about 200 times sweeter than sugar compared with a dilute stock solution.

Synergism. - Sunett is notable for its pronounced synergism with other sweeteners. The synergistic effect leads as quantitative synergism to an intensification of the overall sweetness and as qualitative synergism to an improved taste. The synergism results in a marked intensification of the sweet taste of the blends, which can amount to 30-50% at usual concentrations.

The favourable properties of Sunett, particularly its synergistic behaviour, can be used advantageously in the Sunett-Multi-Sweetener Concept. For high sweetness levels, blends of Sunett with other sweeteners, e.g. aspartame, are particularly favourable in many applications. The synergistic effect of the blend results in a taste that is particularly pleasant and rounded.

Alone or in blends with other sweeteners, Sunett is used mainly where only sweetness is important and no other properties of the foods are to be affected. This applies particularly to beverages (fruit syrups and juices, carbonated beverages, etc.).

In a number of food products, sweet carbohydrates do not only provide the sweet taste; they have other functions to fulfil; for example, they act as bulking or texturing agents and as preservatives by reducing the water activity. In these types of products, Sunett and other sweeteners cannot be used on their own. They must be combined with other substances which perform the required functions. These may be bulking agents or sugar substitutes (for example polyols: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol). Sunett can be combined with both groups of substances.

Uses. In carbonated soft drinks blends of Sunett with other sweet-tasting substances are often recommended. Beverages formulated using the Sunett Multi-Sweetener Concept, i.e. blends of Sunett with other sweeteners, are usually preferred because of their particularly well balanced and rounded sweetness profile. The taste of these blends is often superiors to single sweeteners.

Sunett is compatible with sugar and other sweet-tasting carbohydrates, both technically and in terms of taste. It can therefore be used in the production of soft drinks with a reduced sugar content. Drinks based on fructose and Sunett are suitable for diabetics. Soft drinks with a reduced sugar content show an excellent taste quality when Sunett or Sunett blends are added to bring them up to the usual level of sweetness.

Fruit nectars and fruit juice drinks differ from most carbonated drinks in that they contain a noticeable amount of sweet carbohydrates provided by the fruit juice. The amount of carbohydrate may vary depending on the type of fruit and amount of juice used.

Amounts of up to 200 mg/l Sunett are often adequate as a single sweetener for the popular types of fruit nectars. With blends of Sunett and aspartame quantities in the order of 100150 mg/l Sunett and 50 mg/l aspartame or 60-70 mg/l of both Sunett and aspartame are sufficient.

Sunett offers such excellent stability that end products, such as drinks, show no reduction in sweetness performance during normal processing methods and storage periods. Sunett can withstand pasteurization, hot filling and aseptic filling without any loss of sweetness.

Jams and marmalades. Sugar contributes a great deal to the texture and stability of conventional jams and marmalades. For the production of sugar-free products either the sugar must be replaced by comparable amounts of sugar substitutes or some of the functions of the sugar must be taken only by other components, such as suitable gelling agents.

Sugar-free jams and marmalades containing sweeteners are more susceptible to microorganisms than sugar-containing products. The risk of spoilage due to yeast fermentation or moulding can be prevented by pasteurization. However, this is only feasible for small jars which will be quickly consumed once they are opened.

In all other cases, it is advisable to add 0.05-0.1% potassium sorbate as a preservative, wherever this is permitted under the relevant food regulations.

For sugar-free jams and marmalades, concentrations in the range of 500-2000 mg Sunett/kg of the finished product are appropriate. It is advisable to add Sunett in the form of an aqueous stock solution towards the end of the boiling process. Care must be taken to ensure that Sunett is evenly dispersed throughout the whole batch.

Because of the excellent compatibility of Sunett with sugar alcohols, fruit jams and marmalades using these ingredients offer an outstanding taste.

Fruit preserves. Sunett can be used for the production of sugar-free or sugar-reduced fruit preserves. At the normal pH values for fruit preserves Sunett can be added even before pasteurization, as the sweetness is not impaired under the usual thermal treatment conditions. Sunett also withstands the usual storage periods without loss of sweetness.

NutraSweet(r) is the commercial name of aspartame (APM), a new sweetener from G.D. SEARLE & Co. which can be used in the most foods in order to give the same taste as sugar. NutraSweet is about 180 to 200 times sweeter than sucrose (sugar) and this value depends on pH, temperature and the type of flavour.

NutraSweet can be used as mentioned above in a mix with Sunett or alone in all sugar-free or calorie-reduced fruit jams, marmalades and preserves. Like other sweeteners, NutraSweet does not promote tooth decay.

International regulatory status. Both Sunett and NutraSweet are widely accepted by food laws in the majority of countries. The following are the main fruit products where Sunett is an accepted sweetener:

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