Food additives have the ability to preserve flavor, enhance taste and/or appearance and slow the onset of spoilage. Natural food additives have been used for centuries. Vinegar has been used in pickling, salt has been used to preserve bacon, sugar and honey have been used to preserve fruit and pastries. Sulfur dioxide has been used in wine. Food additives play a role in our ability to ship, process and store food meeting the needs of our current marketplace practices.
There are many different types of food additives, both natural and artificial. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that acts as a preservative by inhibiting the effects of oxygen on food, and may also provide a health benefit. Starch is a bulking agent that increases the bulk of a food without affecting its taste. Color additives and flavor additives each enhance the color and taste or smell of food respectively. Emulsifiers allow water and oils to remain mixed together in an emulsion, as in mayonnaise, ice cream, and homogenized milk. Preservatives prevent or inhibit the growth of fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms in food that would cause spoilage. Stabilizers, thickeners and gelling agents, like agar or pectin (used in jam) give foods a firmer texture. Sweeteners are added to foods for flavoring. Food thickeners are substances which meant to increase viscosity without substantially modifying other food properties.
Malvern’s range of easy to use particle size, zeta potential, imaging and rheological instrumentation can be used to study these additives and their interaction with food products. Our application knowledge can be used to:
- Characterize the particle size and charge of food additives.
- Help to monitor if these food additives will interact in a particular food to reduce spoilage, improve taste, etc.
- Determine optimal concentrations of food additives.
- Optimize food additive concentration for desired taste and smell performance.
- Improve emulsion stabilization of flavorings and other food additives.
- Determine particle size and particle shape characteristics for flow of flour and other dry food and food additive ingredients.
- Understand visco-elastic properties for food processing.