Understanding Food Additives and Their Importance in Food

Posted by | October 29, 2014 | Flavour Manufacturing | No Comments
Flavour Manufacture

Food items as you know them to be after they are cooked at home are almost always for straightaway consumption. Even if they are to be stored to be consumed at a later time, in most of the cases those are consumed in a day or two and that too if those are properly refrigerated or stored with precaution. However, when the same food is prepared on an industrious scale and is to be packed, supplied and delivered to the consumer before they can eat the same, the need for food additives arises.

What are food additives

Ingredients, whether organic or chemical that are used in preparation of food with aim to either provide rich color, texture, aroma to the food or to keep them preserved by enhancing their shelf life, are known as food additives. Some common types of additives include colors, emulsifiers, preservatives and flavoring agents. Below is a detail on how various types of additive are sourced, used and enhances the look, texture, shelf life and taste of food items.


The taste of food is also dependent on its color. A bald looking food, even if tastes good may be perceived by mind as not as tasty. Similarly, brain processes the taste of food based on its color. And therefore, natural and synthetic colors, after strict testing are used to provide a much acceptable look to food items. Colors to be used as additives are sourced naturally. Some of them include, roots of turmeric, Riboflavin caramel extracted by burning sugar and colors extracted from carrots and tomato.


Your jar of mayonnaise will no longer look same as you have known it to be, only if we remove emulsifier from it. Emulsifiers are added to food to provide them the bets texture and also keep water and oil well mixed within the food. In absence, oil and water will make a different layers and the food will look and taste odd. These are chemically active ingredients, either sourced naturally or from chemicals safe for consumption. The ingredients used as emulsifiers have two distinct poles and roles. If one pole of these chemicals are hydrophilic then the other pole is lipophilic. The best natural resource for emulsifiers is lipids called monoglycerides. These are reacted with glycerol to get the most used emulsifiers.


A preparation using animal fats, dry fruits, breads, pickles, milk and even water which is to be consumed at a later stage is best preserved from microbial attack and natural decay through the use of preservatives. Canning, drying, freezing and adding preservatives such as Sorbic acid, Benzoic acid and Propionic acid are widely in use.

Flavoring agents

Even your favorite ice-cream will taste almost tasteless if no flavoring agents are used in its preparation. Vanilla essence, smoky flavor, strawberry essence and numerous such flavors that you enjoy in your food is due to the flavoring agents added to them during their preparations. Most of the flavoring agents are extracted from natural sources, but it is a costly process and also ruin natural resources and therefore nowadays flavoring agents are synthesized using food grade chemicals.

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