Plenty of chemicals and food additives are multi-purpose, but few perhaps are as versatile as calcium chloride. Finding calcium chloride in food or drink is extremely common, with uses throughout the industry – as well as other applications, including bio-medical manufacturing. It’s a safe, incredibly useful substance that is found in so many places that people might be surprised!
So, here are just a few of its uses.
Where You Might Find Calcium Chloride in Food and Drink
- As a firming agent
One major property of calcium chloride is that it works as a sequestrant. It can isolate and protect the fats in food from oxidizing, and in turn, this prevents them from breaking down when stored. So, you will very commonly see calcium chloride utilized in canned fruits and vegetables – it’s what prevents them from turning into mush on store shelves. It may even be put onto fresh fruits/vegetables, particularly those sold pre-sliced – such as apples – to prevent oxidation.
- As a salting agent
What do you do if you want something to taste salty, but you don’t want to increase your food’s sodium levels? One potential solution is to add calcium chloride. It has a very salty flavor – not exactly like table salt, but close. So, it mixes well with foods that are already salty, adding flavor and preservative properties but without adding sodium. For example, most brands of jarred pickles utilize it.
- As a freezing depressant
Calcium chloride lowers the freezing temperature of water considerably, which can be very useful in the production of some foods. This application is common in confections, such as altering the freezing point of caramel so it can be more easily added to frozen treats.
- As an electrolyte
Yes, calcium chloride also works as an electrolyte in the human body. So, it’s very commonly used in sports drinks – that’s what gives them their distinctly salty flavor. In this case, it’s pulling double duty as both electrolyte and preservative.
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