For centuries, additives have been playing an important role in the elaboration process of foods.
Our ancestors used additives for various purposes, such as for example: salt to conserve meats and fish, herbs and/or spices to enhance flavors as well as sugars to conserve fruits.
Nowadays, consumers demand and enjoy flavorful products, which are not only nutritious, affordable and safe to eat, but also count with a stunning physical appearance. To keep up with these expectations, the use of additives evolved into an important and reliable tool within the development of new foods.
What are food additives?
Per definition, any substance, which on its own would not be consumed as “Food” nor be used as a basic ingredient, no matter the nutritional value, is a food additive.
|Functional Class||Technical use in food||Applications|
|Preservatives||Maintain freshness and prolong lifespan by preventing growth of pathogens or prevent changes in organoleptic characteristics of the food||Drinks, cured meats, oven baked products, dressings, fruits and vegetables|
|Sweeteners||Offering a sweet flavor/taste with or without calories||Drinks, deserts and as substitutes of sugar|
|Natural Colorings||Provide, intensify and maintain color in foods||Processed foods in general|
|Flavors||Offer distinct flavors||All kinds of preparations|
|Flavor enhancers||Enhance flavors already existing within the product||Processed foods in general|
|Emulsifiers||Avoid phase separation within emulsions, control crystallization as well as fluidity||Salad dressings, chocolate and meat emulsions|
|Stabilizers, Texture agents||Provide uniform texture||Lactic products, hams and sauces|
|Raising agents||Liberate gases, and therefore increase volume of dough||Baked products|
|Acidity regulators||Control acidity or alkalinity levels in a food||Drinks, meats and sauces|
|Anticaking agents||Maintain fluidity in powders by preventing them to absorb humidity||Salts and baking powders|
|Enzymatic preparations||Modified proteins||Cheeses, lactic products and meats|
|Gelling agents||Give texture to a food by forming a gel like substance||Meats, sauces and lactic products|
|Antioxidants||Extend lifespan of foods, protecting them from deterioration due to exposure to oxygen||Processed foods in general|
Its addition to the foods during different phases, such as production, fabrication, elaboration, preparation, treatment, packing, transport or stocking results (or is expected to result) directly or indirectly in a change of the food or its characteristics through the additive or a sub product. A large variety of food additives exists, allowing to elaborate all kinds of different foods. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration), maintains a list containing around 3000 different ingredients, many of them being of daily/regular use for many people at home.
One particularly important group of food additives are called “GRAS” (abbreviation for Generally Recognized As Safe)). Those are substances approved by the FDA through studies and qualified expert opinions, they are safe to use under certain conditions and in certain applications. Many these additives are used frequently, and never ever has there been a health issue attributed to those additives among consumers.
The main functions of food additives are:
- Preserve or raise the nutritional value
- Assure food safety
- Improve organoleptic characteristics of food
- Extend lifespan
- Facilitate elaboration processes of foods
- Allow development of foods for consumers with special needs (low salt content, organic, free of allergens, etc. …)
Frequently used food additives in the industry:
Some frequently used food additives within the industry can be found in the table beneath:
All food additives are strictly regulated by the Sanitary Authorities of each country as well as worldwide organizations, which allows for a safe consumption of foods containing food additives. All additives are to be correctly declared and put on the label.
Here at TaglerFood, our professionals are highly capable and trained to correctly use, dose and label food additives in various products within the Food Industry.
We offer a wide range of food additives with excellent performance and yield, so don’t hesitate to contact us!
Food and Drug Administration www.fda.gov
Codex Alimentarious www.fao.org/fao-who-codexalimentarius/es/