What Are Food Additives?

Food & Living 1125 Hits > 2010-06-12 00:30:34

What Are Food Additives?

Food is not just consumed to satisfy hunger. As the human civilization progressed, food consumption styles also underwent a gradual change. New ways of cooking food were discovered, civilized ways consuming food, sophistication in presentation of food, ways to preserve its nutrient, making it tastier and more appetizing to look at, are some of major developments that have taken place with respect to food.

What are food additives?

Since there was now focus on making food more appealing not just to the tongue, but other senses as well, food additives were brought into use. Food additives are edible substances that are added to the food to enhance the taste, color, aroma or the nutrition quotient of the food. Some times they are also added to increase the life of the packaged foods and beverages.

What are the popular food additives?

Food additives have been put into a number of categories according to their types and the functions that they perform. Some of the popular types and categories are:


  • Preservatives


Preservatives are the substances added to food in order to increase the life of food. Usually preservatives are added to packaged food that needs a longer shelf life. Natural preservatives like sugar, salt and vinegar are less harmful as compared to the chemical preservatives that are used for commercial purposes.


  • Coloring Agents & Food Dyes


Dyes and coloring agents are used to induce a certain color in the preparations to make them more appealing to the sense of sight. Saffron, annatto, turmeric, beetroot, chlorophyll and a few other vegetables and fruits are natural sources of food color. Apart from chemical coloring agents, lake colors, blended colors and synthetic dyes are some of the artificial coloring categories.


  • Emulsifiers


Emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners are used improving the texture of the food. It is often included to prevent coagulating of oil and water content in an edible substance, instead an emulsifier keeps them together and well blended.



Flavor enhancers are food additives used to improve the taste, aroma, texture or the visual appeal of the food. A number of flavor enhancers are available in the everyday spices and condiment used in the Asian kitchens. Chemical flavors are used more for commercial purposes or in cases where a particular flavor to be induced is not available among the natural flavor enhancers.

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Ramendra rajput

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