Bartek puts its best food forward with a new look, expanded capacity to meet demand for acidulants

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/moussa81
Source: Getty/moussa81

Related tags: IFT show

The acidulant company Bartek is marking its 50th anniversary with updated branding, increased capacity and an expanded and experienced management team that is ready to upshift the company from maintenance mode to drive new growth.

“The fumaric and malic acid markets are growing globally and as the established global leader we are investing ahead of that growth to ensure that our capacity aligns with the global demand,”​ Jeff Billig, vice president of marketing and business development, told FoodNavigator-USA at IFT19 in New Orleans earlier this month. 

He explained that the market for the ingredients is growing 3-5% annually around the world with demand driven in part for more nuanced and unique flavor and sensory profiles in beverages, confections and other categories by companies reducing sugar.

“Intense sweeteners are useful for reducing sugar, but they all have gaps. These acids offer ways to fill the gaps or take away some of the off-notes and extend some of the places in the sweetness cycle,”​ he explained. “The acids really function as a complete flavor complement to some of these sweetness profiles.”

He also noted that as consumers turn away from sweets they are embracing more sour flavors, which both acids also deliver.

“Sour confectioneries are one of the fastest growing sub-segments of the confectionery market and that sourness is coming from the use of various acidulants … including malic and fumaric acid, which are quite functional and fairly inexpensive,”​ Billig said.

He explained that the acidulants offer a range of “sourness” but are well suited to help fill a growing demand for “adult sour,” which has “a lot less of that big sour impact upfront but offers a longer lasting, smooth sour effect.”

They can also add a complementary brightness to savory foods, such as salad dressing and soup, he added.

Expanded capacity and increased support

To meet this growing demand, Bartek earlier this year expanded its production capacity for malic acid to 4,000 tons per year.

This is the first in a series of capital investment projects, made possible in part by the acquisition of TorQuest Partners in October 2018, Billig said, noting that the goal is to increase both malic and fumaric acid capacity by an additional 5,000 tons per year in 2019.

In addition, the company is updating its labs and offices to help support customers’ growth and innovation needs, introduce new products and packages and add value, Billig said.

Barket also is investing in its team, with plans to add “a significant number of sales people,”​ who will report to a mostly new but well-seasoned management team, Billig said.

He explained that the company’s CEO has 45 years of experience in the chemical and food industry, and he has 30 years in the same marketing – “making us a seasoned team that has been around the block a few times which can complement the legacy knowledge of acidulants that remaining members of the founding family offers.”

Function in addition to flavor

Beyond flavor, fumaric acid also offers functional benefits, including that it has very low hygroscopicity, making it an ideal tool to extend product shelf life by inhibiting water absorption.

“Water is the enemy of anything with a powder on the outside of it,”​ and by adding just a small amount of fumaric acid to a product manufacturers can protect it from moisture damage, Billig said.

In addition, he notes, it is on Whole Foods Market list of approved ingredients – making it an easy swap for clean label claims.

A new look

To better highlight these advances and the deep knowledge that Bartek has to offer, the company also unveiled at IFT19 a new look.

The company’s new logo is a “visible embodiment”​ of the company’s transformation, but also communicates the company’s strong roots as a global leader by maintaining its historic purple, according to Bartek.

Billig noted the company also has a new tradeshow booth as part of its effort to be “a lot more externally focused,”​ an effort that extends to an increased presence at expos and in communication efforts with the public.

Overall, Billig said, the changes are Bartek are an exciting signifier of what is to come from the company in the coming years.

“We have got a lot of wind in our sales right now and are excited to be going new places,” ​he added.

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