Lactic acid is already present within our bodies
but it can also be adapted for a whole host of other uses, particularly in the
food sector. Galactic has 20 years of experience in this field and it now
supplies lactic acid solutions to 65 countries across five continents.
FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to sales, marketing and business development
director, Jean-Christophe Bogaert, to find out more:
created in 1994, so in many respects it is a fairly young company, but its
achievements are wide and it has a rapid pace for innovation.
It can now
offer lactic acid solutions for a large range of application sectors such as
the polymers industry and pharmaceuticals. But food represents around 75% of
“In food we
work across a lot of different segments,” explains Bogaert. “Meat and seafood
is a big area where lactic acid derivatives are primarily used as preservative
agents to inhibit the growth of bacteria . Basically it is a guarantee of food
safety but it also improves shelf-life.”
Bakery is another key area for Galactic, where lactic acid has preservative
ProDough Adagio, which is effectively a version of our ProMeat Adagio. With
this product you can replace phosphates because it will mimic what yeast does,”
he explains. “It is much cheaper than yeast and more controllable. Yeast is a
living material so it is not so constant and there can be a lot of variations
in the result.”
The company has
also discovered that ProDough is a taste enhancer, so it promotes the taste of
things such as butter in baked products.
also used in the dairy sector for food supplementation and to increase the
calcium content of milk.
useful in our work with soy milk for example, as we can increase the calcium
levels of soy milk to reach the same levels of that which you would find in
cow’s milk,” he says.
Galactic has a new product called ProDairy Adagio, which is primarily used
within soft cheese applications. “It is a Crystal Lactic Acid powder which
mimics what bacteria does in food products – it is progressive and it can be
controlled by both dosages and temperature.”
The benefits of
this are that it can help reduce processing times and it also allows customers
to adjust the texture of cheeses such as Mozzarella, so that it can be made
harder if necessary for grating purposes.
“It results in
a more stable product so during its shelf-life on say, a pizza, it won’t lose
on taste, texture or meltability.”
lactates are used for mineral fortification, and sports and energy drinks is a
big growth segment for the company.
the biggest user of calcium lactate in the world is Coca-Cola for its
Minute Maid drink, which is supplemented with calcium,” he notes.
confectionery, lactic acid buffered is used to prevent the inversion of
sugar. New segments within food include sauces and dressings, Bogaert explains.
“Really we have
spent the last two years changing our market approach from being a lactic acid
producer into a ‘natural solutions provider’,” he says. “This has opened up new
segments for us.”
In order to do
this the company set up a research and development (R&D) center in Brussels
one and a half years ago. “Our teams all work together with clients to adjust
our existing products to the needs of our customer.”
R&D is a
big area for the company and it invests around 5% of its turnover back into
this area. In order to streamline this focus on innovation, Galactic has
identified four key areas of growth potential for its lactic acid concepts.
“We have identified four main trends in the food industry which are the main
pillars where we have a role to play or can design new products,” he states.
The first of
these is food safety, using lactic acid as a natural preservative. “There is an
increasing need to improve food safety,” he says. “It is very important topic
pillar is health improvements, where Galactic works in two ways.
“One area is to
allow our customers to increase the level of ‘good’ applications such as to
enrich calcium in their products. It’s about adding ingredients that offer a
positive effect on health.”
The other area
of health for Galactic is by designing solutions that help to reduce ‘unhealthy’
ingredients, such as sodium, such as in salt-rich products like processed meat.
solutions that enable our clients to reduce the sodium without losing any of
the taste, and also, without losing any of the benefits you get from salt as a
preservative – therefore we maintain food safety.”
It also has
solutions to reduce the use of sodium aluminium phosphate (SALP), which is now
banned in Europe, he notes.
As a third area
of focus, the company is looking at cost efficiency.
“We don’t sell
cheaper than our competitors necessarily but we do work on developing more
efficient solutions, such as being able to offer reduced dosages. It means it
is a win-win situation for us and our customers if products can be used at a
particularly for mature markets such as North America and Japan, clean label is
a big opportunity for the company.
are natural and increasingly our customers are asking for help in creating
products which are more natural and without e-numbers,” he says.
within this fast-moving sector means that Galactic has its work cut out. But
Bogaert is confident that a focus on the four key pillars Galactic has outlined
for lactic acid potential will drive this company further down the road to
By Sonya Hook