Food and Beverage

Sodium Bicarbonate in Food Industry – A Multifunctional Ingredient for Food and Beverage Applications

sodium bicarbonate in food industry

Sodium Bicarbonate is an essential ingredient in the food and beverage industry, commonly known as baking soda. It is a versatile and valuable ingredient with a significant role in the food industry, it can help in food processing, and preservation, and even benefit consumer health. It is used as an acidity regulator, anticaking agent, raising agent, and stabilizer in various food and beverage applications.

In this article, we will explore Sodium bicarbonate’s diverse effects and role in the food industry, including its functions, applications, and prospects.

Sodium bicarbonate structure

Structure of Sodium bicarbonate. Source Wikipedia

Properties of sodium bicarbonate?

Sodium bicarbonate also known as sodium hydrogen carbonate chemically represented as NaHCO3, is a white crystalline powder with alkaline properties. Baking soda serves as an essential component in the food industry and is used largely in the bakery and confectionery industries as it has several advantageous properties.

It is a type of weak base that produces carbon dioxide gas that causes a foaming or rising effect in baking. It is also considered a valuable buffer and neutralizer in beverages. It is used as a source of carbon dioxide in several soft drinks.

It is authorized and registered as a food ingredient with the reference (E500ii) in Europe.

In Food Processing, Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) has several functions and uses                                         

Sodium bicarbonate is a type of weak base that can react with acids and produce carbon dioxide gas. This gas causes a foaming or rising effect, which makes it a popular ingredient in baking and considered an essential ingredient in baking powder.

 1-Leavening Agent

Sodium bicarbonate acts as a chemical leavening agent for baked goods. When combined with an acidic ingredient (such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, or buttermilk), it creates carbon dioxide gas which causes the food to expand and become fluffy.

This gas causes the dough or batter to rise when baked, resulting in a light and airy texture in products such as cakes, cookies, and bread. With this application, Sodium Bicarbonate is an essential ingredient in baking powders.



Sodium bicarbonate and acids reaction

Source: de.javamem

Also, when heated, sodium bicarbonate decomposes to release carbon dioxide, water, and sodium carbonate, which contributes to the leavening process.

2-PH regulator

Besides its leavening properties, Sodium bicarbonate also acts as a pH regulator as it helps balance and adjust the pH levels in various food products. It is an alkaline compound that helps balance acidity, providing stability to formulations and influencing the taste profile of the final product.

It acts as a buffer, meaning it can resist changes in pH by absorbing excess acid or base. By adding sodium bicarbonate, food manufacturers can control and maintain the desired pH range in their products.

3- Flavor Enhancersodium bicarbonate in bakeries

PH is an important factor that affects the taste and flavor of food. Sodium bicarbonate is an effective method for adjusting the pH of acidic foods, which helps in reducing their acidity and making them taste milder. For instance, it can be used in acidic sauces, dressings, or marinades to balance out the flavors and make them more enjoyable.

4-Texture Modifier

Sodium bicarbonate has a great effect on the texture and mouthfeel of food products as it can create a lighter and airier texture by reacting with acids and producing carbon dioxide gas, by modifying pH which causes the dough to rise and enhance the experience of consumers to bakeries.


Reference: Baker pedia

Baking soda + acid = carbon dioxide gas + water + salt

5-Color Preservation


Sodium bicarbonate can help preserve the color of fruits and vegetables during processing. Maintaining a slightly alkaline environment can prevent or slow down the degradation of pigments responsible for the vibrant colors of produce.

6-Meat Tenderizer

Sodium bicarbonate is used as a meat tenderizer due to its alkaline properties. It increases the pH which encourages the activity of enzymes naturally present in meat or added through marinades.

It activates the protease enzyme which assists in breaking down the proteins in meat, specifically collagen, which is responsible for the toughness of connective tissues. By breaking down collagen, sodium bicarbonate can help tenderize the meat, making it more tender and easier to chew.

Role of Sodium bicarbonate as a preservative agent

1-Provides Antimicrobial Properties

Sodium bicarbonate has antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of certain microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. It creates an alkaline environment that is less favorable for the survival and growth of microorganisms. As a result, it can help prolong the shelf life of food products and reduce the risk of spoilage.

2-Extends the shelf life of food products

Bicarbonate of sodium helps to control moisture content in food products since it has hygroscopic properties, meaning it can absorb moisture from its surroundings. In certain food products, excess moisture can contribute to microbial growth or accelerate spoilage.

By absorbing moisture, baking soda helps control water activity and reduce the potential for microbial contamination, thereby extending the shelf life of food products.

3-Inhibits Maillard Reaction

Sodium bicarbonate plays an important role in reducing the Maillard reaction that causes color and flavor changes in food products by changing the pH of food and inhibiting enzyme activity. Reference: food additive Asia

Role of Sodium bicarbonate in Beverage

Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), is an essential ingredient in many beverages, especially soft drinks. It plays a critical role by acting as a buffering agent to neutralize the acidity present in most components of these drinks.

Sodium bicarbonate in beverage

Soft drinks are known for their carbonation and diverse flavors, which often contain acidic elements that can negatively impact their taste and shelf stability. Bicarbonate of soda is a versatile solution that helps to balance and enhance the palatability of the beverage by neutralizing excess acid.

1-Buffering agent:

pH of soft drinks is slightly acidic which helps to give soft drinks their tart flavor, Sodium bicarbonate helps to maintain the desired acidity level and stabilize the pH of soft drinks thus preventing the rise in the acidity and becoming too acidic or sour.

2-Flavor enhancer:

Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) contributes to the flavor of soft drinks as it helps balance and enhance the taste by neutralizing the sourness caused by acidic ingredients used in soft drinks & resulting in a smoother drink

3-Carbonating agent:

sodium bicarbonate in soft drinks

Sodium bicarbonate reacts with acid components in drinks to control the release of carbon dioxide, which produces the desired effervescence and maintains the carbonation level.


4-Preservative agent:

The alkaline nature of Sodium bicarbonate creates an environment less favorable to bacterial growth & preserves the quality and freshness of the product for a longer period.


Sodium bicarbonate (Baking soda) is a crucial ingredient in the food and beverage industry due to its versatile properties. It can be used in a variety of applications, ranging from cooking and baking to carbonation and pH regulation.

As a leavening agent, sodium bicarbonate helps to create a light and airy texture in baked goods, ensuring their desirable rise and tenderness. In addition, it is used to neutralize acids in the production of carbonated beverages, effectively controlling their acidity levels. Sodium bicarbonate also acts as a food preservative, enhancing shelf life and maintaining product quality.

As the food and beverage industry continues to evolve, sodium bicarbonate remains a reliable and widely used ingredient to enhance product quality.

You can get a valuable and high-quality sodium bicarbonate to enhance your products.


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