Carbohydrates such as sugar and tapioca starch reached record highs in recent times, starch are key raw materials in the manufacturing of lactic acid, its derivatives and gluconates. With the increase in raw materials, Purac has announced a global price increase, effective from February 1st 2010, as far as contracts allow, said the company.
Lex Borghans, manager corporate marketing for Purac told FoodNavigator that sugar prices had increased by between 25 and 30 per cent in last three months, while tapioca prices had shot up by a whopping 35 to 40 per cent in the same time period.
“Purac will do its utmost to mitigate the higher cost of these raw materials,” said the company.
Purac is leading the rises in lactic acid prices, said Borghans, with no announcements from other lactic acid suppliers/ producers seen yet.
Lactic acid occurs naturally in fermented foods like cheese, yoghurts, soy sauce, meats and pickled vegetables. It is also used in a broad range of manufactured food products as a preservative or acidity regulator.
One of the popular misconceptions is that lactic acid is derived from dairy, since it sounds rather like lactose. Some consumers who suffer from lactose intolerance may therefore conclude that they should avoid it.
In fact, lactic acid is produced by a fermentation process, involving the fermentation of carbohydrates like as glucose, sucrose, or lactose.
According to a recent report from Leatherhead Food International, use of lactic acid in food increased from around 95,000 to 110,000 tonnes per year between 2004 and 2007.
Borghans added that increases were “more or less following GDP growth”.
Food makes up about 45 per cent of its industrial uses; non-food uses include pharmaceuticals, animal feed, biomaterials and detergents.