Just a tiny jar of preservative is enough to give bathtub full of the popular condiment a long shelf life. The mixing ratio can also be applied to food and beverages. These small doses are essential, says Anna Kuch, benzoate product manager in the F&F BU, and explains why.
People have been preserving food for thousands of years – either with salt or through fermentation. The fermentation process makes sauerkraut, for example, edible for a long time. Thanks to it, sailors got scurvy less often, as they had long-lasting vegetables with vitamins.
Nowadays we preserve almost all products that can be found in the supermarket. In the case of jam, this is handled by sugar, while canned food and milk are boiled, i.e., pasteurized. These processes are by no means suitable for all foods, however. In this case, traditional preservatives must be used to give products a longer shelf life – such as the sodium benzoates from LANXESS. They have an antimicrobial effect against molds and yeasts.
Preservatives often also make new products possible in the first place. Jams with a reduced sugar content are one example. This is a great trend, but less sugar also reduces the jam’s shelf life. To prevent the jam from ending up in the trash after only two breakfasts, the producer can add a little bit of preservative – now the jam stays fresh longer, reducing food waste in the process.
Dressings and sauces are a special case, such as the particularly wide variety used in Asian cuisine. Thanks to the preservatives, these sauces can easily last for weeks at a street food stand without going bad, even at temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius.
Even shampoos and soaps, as well as many other cosmetic products, have a shelf life of several weeks or months thanks to just a minimal amount of preservatives.
The availability of medicines is also currently the subject of much discussion. In recent months, many parents have tried in vain to find fever-reducing syrup for their children. Anyone who was lucky enough to get hold of a bottle can be pleased to know that it will keep for weeks or even months after it has been opened. In this case as well, our benzoates, for example, ensure that the drug can still be used after all this time without any issues.
Less waste, more sustainable consumption, medicines that have a long shelf life – all this is only possible thanks to small amounts of preservatives.
After all, what’s a shot of preservative in an entire bathtub full of ketchup?
At home, take a look at your shampoo bottle or sweet and sour sauce.
There’s a pretty good chance these will have a long shelf life thanks to preservatives from LANXESS.