From enhancing tart fruit flavors in ready-to-drink beverages to balancing the taste of high-intensity sweeteners in low-calorie options, malic and fumaric acids can help enhance, improve, and balance flavor in refreshing formulations.
Achieving the ideal flavor, such as fruit flavours, in carbonated drinks can pose challenges. However, by adding malic acid fruit flavors are intensified creating a prolonged release of the flavor compounds. In carbonated beverages like sparkling water, malic acid acts as a flavor blender and creates a smoother and more natural-tasting flavor profile.
Formulating with malic acid provides more sourness per unit weight than other acidulants used in non-cola carbonated beverages. The result is the weight of pre-weighed acidulant packs is reduced, presenting considerable cost savings.
- Ginger Ales
- Sparkling Waters
Sports Performance Drinks
Many beverages for athletic performance contain ingredients with strong and astringent flavors or bitter aftertastes. Utilizing malic acid in these formulations masks the taste of functional ingredients and reduces turbidity by reducing precipitation.
By extending the release of various notes, malic acid blends and intensifies flavors for a smoother and more natural tasting flavor profile. This, in turn, helps to balance the flavor of added salts in sports beverages. Therefore, malic acid reduces the amount of additional flavor needed often allowing formulators to recognize cost savings.
Preferred for its rapid dissolution rate and flavor enhancement qualities, malic acid provides more sourness than citric acid; therefore, less acidulant is required and unit weight can be reduced.
On the other hand, fumaric acid decreases pH without increasing sourness in acidified beverages containing proteins and amino acids. In fact, beverages with fumaric acid (same pH but lower % acid level) are perceived as sweeter and less sour.
Furthermore, when added to a calcium-fortified application, malic acid precipitates calcium salts that are far more water-soluble than salts precipitated from citric acid. Bartek’s research found that using malic acid in place of citric acid in calcium-fortified beverages significantly lowers turbidity due to the greater solubility of calcium malate over calcium citrate.
- Sports electrolyte drinks
- Calcium-fortified protein drinks
- Vitamin-infused flavored waters
Teas are sought-after for their aromatic properties and health benefits but the flavonoids in teas can leave an unpleasant aftertaste that is tricky to overcome. When combined with intense herbal flavors and high-intensity sweeteners, tea-based beverages are especially susceptible to flavor imbalances. If sourness outlasts sweetness, or vice versa, the result is an imbalanced and unpleasant tasting experience for the consumer.
Thankfully, formulating with malic acid can enhance fruit and herbal flavor notes in teas while providing a balanced and rich flavor profile. For example, malic acid in a low-calorie sweetened peach tea can prolong sourness to match the longer-lasting sweetness of aspartame and sucralose. It acts as a blender of flavors and enhances the juicy, fruity, and herbal attributes.
- Iced teas with lemon
- Herbal teas
- Diet teas
- Fruity teas
When fruit and vegetable juice drinks lack the necessary additive components, flavors can fall flat or dissipate prematurely. A touch of acidity intensifies and extends the flavor experience creating a better-tasting product for the consumer.
The smooth and lingering tartness of malic acid and the long-lasting sourness of fumaric acid both complement the natural sweetness and acidity of fruits and vegetables making them optimal flavor blenders. Specifically, by formulating with malic and fumaric acids, one can introduce a persistent sourness to juice beverages that intensifies the sweet and fruity character of the application, yielding a juicy, mouthwatering, taste.
Fumaric acid also provides more buffering capacity than other acidulants when the pH is close to 3.0. Thus, in a juice drink with inconsistent color, flavor, or clarity, the addition of fumaric acid can stabilize the pH. This, in turn, stabilizes color, flavor, and turbidity, allowing for longer shelf-life and a more pleasant overall consumer experience.
Fumaric acid is also hydrophobic which renders it an effective antimicrobial agent and extends the shelf-life of beverages. For example, in combination with sodium benzoate, fumaric acid was shown to have prevented the growth of E. coli in apple cider. Fumaric acid also provides considerable savings in acidulant costs as it requires less to be added for the same desired level of sourness.
Fruit flavor of beverages with citric acid seemed one dimensional, whereas beverages with malic acid and fumaric acid seemed more complex and more “true to fruit”.
- Fruit juice beverages
- Vegetable juice blends
Beer, Wine, and Spirits
A favorite libation is difficult to imitate and nearly impossible to replace, but it doesn’t take much to make the first sip too sour, too acidic, or just a bit off. Bartek understands the importance of a first impression. That’s why for over 50 years Bartek has manufactured acidulants that ensure consistency in production and create stronger, better tasting flavor profiles in beer, wine, and spirits.
When malic acid converts to lactic acid by Lactobacilli during secondary fermentation of wines and hard ciders, it reduces the total acidity by about one third to result in a less sour, more complex, flavor profile. Malic acid can be added before fermentation to account for the variability that occurs naturally in grapes and other fruits.
Trace metal ions, particularly those of copper and iron, accelerate the precipitation of metal-tannin complexes which cause turbidity and sedimentation in wine. Adding malic acid helps to maintain consistency and clarity, regardless of the amount of naturally occurring tannins and trace metals, that lead to turbidity in alcoholic beverages.
- Hard ciders
- Sparkling ciders
Sugar Free and Low Calorie
The movement toward new regulations is only just beginning. Health systems will be unable to cope with the strain of diseases caused by obesity and diabetes, leading governments to intervene more strongly to curb intake of sugar and fats. Food manufacturers will have to comply to the new regulations. With all this said, taste remains the most important factor in consumer’s purchasing decisions. This has led to the usage of high-intensity sweeteners, to give consumers the taste and label benefits they crave.
High-intensity sweeteners can be particularly difficult to work with because of their long-lived flavor experience. However, the addition of malic acid into low calorie formulations has been shown to enhance, extend, and blend artificial sweeteners with flavors, like fruit for example, to create a pleasurable consumer experience.
The sourness in malic acid, compared to citric acid, lasts longer and matches the prolonged sweetness of aspartame and sucralose, providing an improved sweet/sour balance in an application. Malic acid adds complexity in fruit flavor profiles and modifies the sweetness of high intensity sweeteners. Bartek’s research shows that this results in at least a 10% reduction of the amount of sweetener needed, allowing beverage makers to reduce ingredient costs.