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What is Propylene Glycol in Food?

Propylene glycol, often labeled as E1520, is a synthetic liquid substance that belongs to the alcohol family. It is commonly used in the food industry as a food additive and preservative.

This odorless and colorless liquid has a slightly sweet taste, making it suitable for various food products. Propylene glycol is known for its versatility and ability to absorb and retain moisture, which helps improve the texture and shelf life of food items.

What is Propylene Glycol?

Propylene glycol, also known as PG, is a man-made liquid that belongs to the alcohol group. It doesn't smell, has no color, and tastes slightly sweet. PG is often added to food as it can do many different things.Chemically speaking, propylene glycol is made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Its structure lets it mix with different things and keep them moist. This makes it great for many food uses.A special thing about propylene glycol is that it can help food stay moist by keeping in water. This is important for items like baked goods, dairy products, and processed meats.Moreover, propylene glycol is used to help spread out flavors and colors in foods like drinks, sweets, and frozen treats. Because it doesn't harm us much and can work with lots of other things, it is really useful for making food.In short, propylene glycol helps keep many foods tasty, fresh, and nice-looking, ensuring that people enjoy what they eat.





A relatively non-toxic liquid that is practically colorless, odorless and tasteless.

Specific Gravity at 25°C

1.035 – 1.037

Assay, Current USP

99.5 % Minimum


0.007 % Maximum

Heavy Metals

5 ppm Maximum

Residue on Ignition

0.007 % Maximum


0.006 % Maximum


0.2 % Maximum

Freezing Point

< -76°C

Viscosity (20°C, cp)


Nutritional Information reported as is on a per 100 gram basis:



570 cal 100g


0.2 g 100g


0.005 g 100g


Packaging: 4 x 218kg Drums, 16 x 20kg Carboys, 1 x 1200kg Tote

These specifications are crucial for ensuring the quality and safety of propylene glycol for its intended uses.

Propylene Glycol in Food

Propylene glycol is a common additive found in various processed foods and beverages. It serves several functions in food production and preservation:

  1. Humectant: Propylene glycol helps retain moisture in food products, preventing them from drying out and maintaining freshness.

  2. Solvent and Stabilizer: It acts as a solvent for food colors, flavors, and additives, ensuring they remain evenly distributed throughout the product. It also stabilizes certain ingredients, preventing separation or settling.

  3. Texture Modifier: Propylene glycol can improve the texture and consistency of foods, making them smoother and more palatable.

  4. Antioxidant: In some cases, it may function as an antioxidant, helping to prevent the oxidation of fats and oils in processed foods.

Foods with Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is a common food additive found in various processed foods and beverages. Here are some examples:

  1. Baked Goods: Some baked goods like cakes, pastries, and muffins may contain propylene glycol as a humectant to help retain moisture and extend shelf life.

  2. Dressings and Sauces: Salad dressings, sauces, and marinades may use propylene glycol to maintain texture and consistency.

  3. Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts: Propylene glycol can be used in ice cream and frozen desserts as a stabilizer to prevent crystallization and maintain smoothness.

  4. Dairy Products: Some dairy products such as flavored milk, yogurt, and pudding may contain propylene glycol as an emulsifier or stabilizer.

  5. Soft Drinks and Flavored Beverages: Propylene glycol is sometimes used in soft drinks, sports drinks, and flavored beverages to enhance texture and mouthfeel.

  6. Convenience Foods: Many processed and convenience foods, including ready-to-eat meals, snack bars, and instant soups, may contain propylene glycol to improve texture and consistency.

  7. Candy and Chocolates: Some candies and chocolates may use propylene glycol as a humectant or to prevent sugar crystallization.

Bottom Line

To sum it up, we've talked about how propylene glycol is used in the food industry. We started by discussing what propylene glycol is - a common chemical compound found in many food items because of its properties. Throughout our conversation, we looked at what it does, its advantages, and the possible risks of using it in food.

We also talked about which foods usually have propylene glycol in them. It's important for people to know about these foods and why propylene glycol is included in them, so they can make smart choices about what they eat.

Additionally, propylene glycol is used in many different ways in the food industry, showing how versatile and important it is. Understanding how propylene glycol can affect food helps people make informed decisions about what they eat.

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