Absorbing this non-meat ingredient into meat formulations provides food technologists with opportunities to engineer products for specific flavour, shelf-life and safety aspects. As such, sodium lactate has been one of the most rapidly accepted, new non-meat ingredients for value-added meat products in the past decade.
Located in Montmeló, near Barcelona, expanded production of the ingredient used in sponge cakes and sausages is slated for completion by the middle of this year.
"Sodium lactate powder is a free-flowing powder available in different qualities, marketed under the brand name PURASAL Powder S the product is used in food applications for its antimicrobial, humectant and flavour-enhancing properties," said Purac, a subsidiary of Dutch bakery ingredients and sweeteners group CSM.
Sodium lactate is the sodium salt of lactic acid which is low-melting and hygroscopic with a mildly saline taste. Used in cakes to produce a tender crumb and to reduce staling the ingredient also provides a protein plasticising effect in biscuits.
The product is also widely used in the meat industry - in fresh and cooked whole muscle and emulsified meat products - to extend shelf life and increase food safety. Sodium lactate can play a role in the formulation of frankfurter-type sausages as a replacement for sodium chloride and as a dehydrating salt or humectant - 'moisturiser' - in uncured hams.
Offices of the Purac mother ship CSM were raided in April this year by the Dutch competition watchdog NMa on suspicions of price fixing in the firms sugar division CSM Suiker. The Diemen-based CSM company that produces sugar, syrups and sweeteners from beet said the investigations would focus on 'possible price arrangements' between CSM Suiker and its competitors and customers.
Further to sweeteners, the firm is the world's largest supplier of bakery ingredients, the publicly-listed firm CSM moves in four product groups - bakery supplies, sugar confectionery, biochemicals and sugar. In 2003 the net group turnover hit €3.484 billion.