Acidity regulator is a food additive that is used to control the acidity or alkalinity of foods, in other words, pH control agent. They can be mineral or organic acids, bases, neutralizing agents, or buffering agents. The synonyms are acidity regulator, food acidity regulators, and pH control agent. Acidity regulators and acidifiers is an important food additive used to give a sour taste to food and to function as a preservative. Stabilizers, antioxidants, emulsifiers, and color retention agents are some other functions that acidity regulators have.
Sweetener, also known as sweetening agent, is a substance that sweetens food, beverage, medications, etc. Sweeteners are added to foods for flavouring. Sweeteners other than sugar are added to keep the food energy low, or because they have beneficial effects for diabetes mellitus and tooth decay and diarrhea. The food and beverage industry is increasingly replacing sugar or corn syrup with artificial sweeteners in a range of products traditionally containing sugar. Alternative sweeteners are highly consumed in many products because of their low or non-caloric features. For those who are conscious of sugar intake, this low calorie can be used as a method of advertisement. Alternative sweeteners can also benefit diabetes by not affecting their blood sugar levels drastically.
Food humectant is used as a food additive to prevent foodstuffs from drying out. Some common humectants used in food are things like honey and glucose syrup both for their water absorption and sweet flavor. Humectants are also used in stabilization of food products and lengthening shelf life through food and moisture control. Some of the humectants are seen in non-ionic polyols like sucrose, glycerin, and its trimester. These humectant food additives are used for controlling viscosity and texture.
A thickening agent or thickener is a substance which can increase the viscosity of a liquid without substantially changing its other properties. Edible thickeners are commonly used to thicken sauces and soups without altering their taste. Food thickeners frequently are based on either polysaccharides or proteins.
Nutrition enhancers are food additives used to add nutritional ingredients to foodstuff. Similar as flavor enhancers, nutrition enhancers sometimes not enhance the flavor but the nutrition level of a food. Both enhancers are added to improve the performance of foods.
Preservative is added to foods to prevent decomposition by microbial growth or by undesirable chemical changes. Most preservatives today are actually fungistatic in their action. They have little effect on bacteria but using a combination of preservatives, with antibacterial properties, can give good all round protection. The primary reason for using food preservatives is to make foods safer by eliminating the influence of biological factors. To achieve this goal, anti-microbial substances are used which inhibit, delay or prevent the growth and proliferation of bacteria, yeasts and moulds.
Flavouring enhancer, also known as flavouring agent, is a food additive that is used to improve the taste or odour of a food. It may be extracted from natural sources (through distillation, solvent extraction, maceration, among other methods) or created artificially. A flavor enhancer can bring out all the great flavors in the dish when added to the right foods at the right usage levels.
An antioxidant is used as a food additive to help guard against food deterioration. Antioxidants are an especially important class of preservatives as, unlike bacterial or fungal spoilage, oxidation reactions still occur relatively rapidly in frozen or refrigerated food. These preservatives include natural and synthetic antioxidants. There are several nutrients in food that contain antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene. Antioxidants are used as food additives to help guard against food deterioration like food preservatives.
Stabilizers and coagulators are food additives that are used to preserve the structure of food. Stabilizers, thickeners and gelling agents, like agar or pectin (used in jam for example) give foods a firmer texture. While they are not true emulsifiers, they help to stabilize emulsions. Food stabilizers are different from food preservatives, because stabilizers are used to retain the physical characteristic of the food whereas as preservatives prevent the spoilage of the food. Food stabilizers increase the stability and thickness of the food by binding its large molecules. The purpose of using food stabilizers and coagulators are to maintain the consistency of the food and to prevent the separation of ingredients that are bound together by emulsifiers.
An anticaking agent is a food additive placed in powdered or granulated materials, to prevent the formation of lumps and for easy transport, packaging and consumption, such as table salt. Some foods made of powder and granules have a tendency to absorb water and clump together, such as instant soup, creamer, icing sugar, and table salt. They will be difficult to use if the ingredients don’t flow freely. Anti-caking agents are used to prevent this situation.
Flour treatment agents are food additives combined with flour to improve baking functionality. Flour treatment agents are used to increase the speed of dough rising and to improve the strength and workability of the dough. Synonyms are improving agents, bread improvers, dough conditioners and dough improvers. Flour treatment agents give the flour a more uniform appearance and ease the handling of the dough under different conditions like fermentation.
An emulsifier, also known as an “emulgent”, is a substance that stabilizes an emulsion by increasing its kinetic stability. One class of emulsifiers is known as “surface active agents”, or surfactants. Some of the food emulsifiers are egg yolk, mustard, soy lecithin, sodium phosphates, etc. Ice cream is one food that would not exist if there is no emulsifier. Besides, bread and other baked products, where solid particles are dispersed in an airy form, are enhanced by emulsifiers.
Bulking agents such as starch are additives that increase the bulk of a food without affecting its taste. Some commonly used bulking agents are soluble fibers like guar gum and psyllium husk. The other examples of bulking agents are carnuba wax, glycerin, beta glucan, mannitol, maltitol, polydextrose, methylcellulose and pectin. Food bulking agents are widely used in low calorie foods, breads, cereals, meal replacements, and most processed foods. Some studies show that bulking agent can be used as weight loss aid for their ability of delivering fullness and decreased appetite, such as soluble fiber glucomannan can help in losing weight. Some of the bulking agents used in food industry are slimming foods, food and beverage applications, bakery products and vitamins.
In industrial processes, foams can cause serious problems. Antifoaming agents are used to reduce or prevent foaming during the processing or manufacture of foods. Some commonly used defoamers are insoluble oils, polydimethylsiloxanes, and other silicones, certain alcohols, stearates and glycols. Antifoaming agents are generally used in fried foods such as potato chips and various fried snack foods. Defoamers are also used in the fast food industry for fried chicken, chicken nuggets and French fries. Silicone defoamers have low surface and interfacial tensions which enable them to flow easily over the film and eventually cause the foam wall to thin and collapse. Antifoaming agents can reduce waste, increase your productivity, reduce your production costs and save your money. The food grade antifoaming agents prevent the formation of foam or are added to break a foam already formed.
Enzymes are macromolecular biological catalysts. Enzymes used in food production processes are natural proteins that act as catalysts for biochemical reaction. They are processing aids, itself is not functional in the final product. The natural food enzymes help us get more from raw materials. Man has been using enzymes to produce, preserve and improve food since ancient times. Cheese, wine, beer and soy sauce are all produced using enzymes. Enzymes in food are also extremely important for producing apple juice and bread. Some common enzymes used in food processing are amylases that produce sugar from starch, such as in making high-fructose corn syrup; proteases that lower the protein level of flour, as in biscuit-making; trypsin that manufacture hypoallergenic baby foods; cellulases and pectinases that clarify fruit juices.
An aroma compound, also known as odorant, aroma, fragrance, or flavor, is a chemical compound that has a smell or odor. It can be found in foods and many of the aroma compounds play a significant role in the production of flavorants, which are used in the food service industry to increase the appeal of their products. The aroma reaches the nose before the food reaches the mouth and we can taste it. The sense of smell explores the food before we eat it. Certain amount of flavor and aroma food additive will greatly improve the performance of processed food and become more attractive.
Gum base is what gives chewing gum its “chew.” It is made of a combination of food-grade polymers, waxes and softeners that give gum the texture desired by consumers and enable it to effectively deliver sweetness, flavor and various other benefits, including dental benefits.
Coating agent, also known as food glazing agent, is a natural or synthetic substance that provides a waxy, homogeneous, coating to prevent water loss from a surface and provide other protection. It is often applied to the external surface or a food to give a shiny appearance or protective coating to foods. Food coatings can be added to enhance the appearance by adding color, tastes (sweet dragee, salted snack), flavors (fruit-glazed sweet goods), or texture (breaded crispy nuggets). Food coatings can add nutrients to the food such as vitamins and minerals. Coating agents in food also have some functional properties, such as particle separation (oiled dry fruit, shredded cheese), antioxidant effect (fruit cubes), or a barrier effect.
Colour fixatives, also known as colour retention agents, are food additives that are added to food to prevent the colour from changing. Many of them work by absorbing or binding to oxygen before it can damage food (antioxidants). In beverage industry, color retention agents are widely used for fruit and vegetable juices and drinks along with wine and sparkling wines. Color retention agents are also used in processed fruit and vegetables and in baby food.
Food colouring is a food additive that imparts colour to food. In European countries, E-numbers for permitted food colours are from E100 to E199. There are two main types of colours: natural and synthetic. Natural colours are extracted from natural matter such as plants, trees and insects. Synthetic colours are manufactured by the ton in batch lots. Food coloring additives are widely used in foods for many reasons including: offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions; correct natural variations in color; enhance colors that occur naturally; provide color to colorless and fun goods; make food more attractive and appetizing, and informative; allow consumers to identify products on sight, like candy flavors or medicine dosages.
A bleaching agent is used to lighten or whiten a substrate through chemical reaction. The bleaching reactions usually involve oxidative or reductive processes that degrade color systems. A food bleaching agent is simply used for the purpose of decolorizing food. For example, food manufacturers usually add flour bleaching agent to flour in order to make it appear whiter and to oxidize the surfaces of the flour grains and help with developing of gluten.
A feed additive is a food supplements for farm animals that cannot get enough nutrients from regular meals that the farmers provide and include vitamins, amino acids, fatty acids, and minerals. In some cases if an animal does not have some specific nutrition in its diet it may not grow properly. The nutritional values of animal feeds are influenced not only by their nutrient content, but also by many other factors. These include feed presentation, hygiene, digestibility, and effect on intestinal health.
Food additives are substances added to food to preserve flavor or enhance its taste and appearance. Some additives have been used for centuries. Food additives can be divided into several groups, although there is some overlap between them. Food additives and preservatives have been used for thousands of years. For instance, it is believed that spices in curry seasonings were initially created to preserve the freshness of foods and conceal the taste of slightly spoiled foods. Today, there are over 14,000 man-made preservatives and additives added to consumables. There are also many other food additives that we have not listed in the common categories.