Understanding Acidulants in the Food Industry and the Top Food Ingredient Companies in Thailand

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In the world of food production, various additives play a crucial role in enhancing flavor, extending shelf life, and maintaining product quality. Acidulants are one such group of additives widely used in the food industry. These compounds impart a sour or tangy taste to foods, acting as flavor enhancers and preservatives. In this blog, we will delve into the world of acidulants, explore the most commonly used acidulant, discuss popular acids used in food processing, and empower you to become your own nutrition expert by deciphering food ingredient lists. Additionally, we will highlight the top food ingredient companies in Thailand.

What are Acidulants in the Food Industry?

Acidulants are food additives that are primarily used to enhance the flavor, pH balance, and preservation of food products. They are typically added to products such as jams, jellies, salad dressings and dairy products in order to increase shelf life and improve flavor. The most widely used acidulant in the food industry is citric acid, which is found naturally in citrus fruits. Other common acids used include lactic acid, malic acid, phosphoric acid, tartaric acid and acetic acid. They are responsible for imparting a sharp or acidic taste to various foods and beverages. Acidulants also serve as antimicrobial agents, preventing the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. These additives are typically used in processed foods, carbonated beverages, confectioneries, and dairy products.

Most Widely Used Acidulant in the Food Industry:

Citric acid is the most widely used acidulant in the food industry. It occurs naturally in citrus fruits like lemons and limes, but most commercial citric acid is derived from fermented sugars. Citric acid provides a tart flavor and is used in soft drinks, fruit juices, candies, and many other food products. It also acts as a preservative by inhibiting bacterial growth and enhancing the shelf life of various food items.

Common Acids Used in Food Processing:

Besides citric acid, several other acids find applications in the food processing industry. These include:

a. Lactic Acid:

This acid is naturally present in dairy products, fermented foods, and pickled vegetables. Lactic acid acts as a preservative, flavor enhancer, and pH regulator in baked goods, meats, beverages, and dairy products.

b. Malic Acid:

Found naturally in fruits such as apples and grapes, malic acid provides a tart taste. It is commonly used in beverages, confectioneries, and fruit-flavored products.

c. Acetic Acid:

Also known as vinegar, acetic acid is used as a condiment and preservative in various food products, including pickles, salad dressings, and sauces.

d. Phosphoric Acid:

Primarily used in carbonated beverages, phosphoric acid provides an acidic taste and helps balance flavors.

Deciphering Food Ingredient Lists:

Understanding food ingredient lists is essential for making informed nutritional choices. By carefully examining the ingredient list, you can identify potential allergens, additives, and other components of the product. Here are some tips to become your own nutrition expert:
a. Start with the first few ingredients: The ingredients are listed in descending order of quantity. Pay attention to the first few ingredients, as they constitute the largest proportion of the product.

b. Watch out for hidden sugars: Look for terms such as high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, sucrose, or any other ingredient ending in “ose” to identify added sugars.

c. Recognize artificial additives: Ingredients with complex names, such as preservatives (e.g., sodium benzoate) or artificial sweeteners (e.g., aspartame), should be noted.

d. Check for allergens: Ingredient lists often include common allergens like peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, eggs, and milk. Be cautious if you have specific dietary restrictions or allergies.

Top Food Ingredient Companies in Thailand:

Thailand boasts a vibrant food industry with several prominent food ingredient companies. Here are a few of the top players in Thailand:

a. Thai Food Ingredients (TFI):

TFI is a leading manufacturer and distributor of food ingredients, including acidulants, preservatives, flavors, and seasonings. They cater to a wide range of food and beverage sectors.

b. The Green Labs:

The Green Labs specializes in natural and organic food ingredients. They offer a diverse range of products, including acidulants, sweeteners, flavors, and botanical extracts.

c. Thai Foods Group:

Thai Foods Group focuses on producing high-quality food ingredients, including acidulants, starches, sweeteners, and food additives. They supply their products to both domestic and international markets.

d. DPO International:

DPO International is a global food ingredient company with a significant presence in Thailand. They provide a wide range of ingredients, including acidulants, dairy products, proteins, and food coatings.

If you’re looking for more information about food additives, acidulants and other food ingredients, the Thailand Food and Drug Administration has a wealth of resources that you can access for free. It’s also helpful to review consumer research sites, like Consumer Reports, so that you can make sure the products you purchase meet your expectations. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to confidently select safe and nutritious foods that will help keep your family healthy.

By learning more about acidulants and the role they play in food processing, you can become a smart consumer and make better decisions when it comes to your food choices. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to enjoy delicious food products without worrying about their potential effects on your health.


Acidulants play a crucial role in the food industry by enhancing flavor, providing tartness, and extending shelf life. Citric acid, derived from citrus fruits, is the most widely used acidulant. Understanding food ingredient lists empowers you to make informed dietary choices. In Thailand, several top food ingredient companies, such as Thai Food Ingredients (TFI), The Green Labs, Thai Foods Group, and DPO International, contribute to the growth and innovation of the food industry.

By being knowledgeable about acidulants and understanding food ingredient lists, you can make conscious decisions about the foods you consume and lead a healthier lifestyle.