Food additives are defined as any substance added to food to improve its quality, color, fragrance, and flavor, or to meet the needs of preservation, freshness, and processing. These substances are not normally used as a basic ingredient of food during the process of production, processing, storage, and packaging. According to the compositions, food additives are generally divided into two major categories of natural additives and synthetic additives. Natural food additives are mainly produced by purifying the ingredients from plant or animal. Chemically synthesized additives are based on chemical raw materials, from which organic or inorganic substances are extracted and purified.
Food additives play an important role in many aspects employed in modern food industries. Food additives can be divided into antioxidants, bleach, sweeteners, preservatives, colorants, thickeners, and other categories according to their functions. Different groups of food additives may overlap due to multiple effects. Food color, fragrance, flavor, shape, and texture are important indicators to measure the quality of food. Adding appropriate colorants, color fixatives, edible flavors, thickening agents, emulsifiers, quality improvers, etc. can significantly improve the sensory quality of food and meet the requirements of customers for food flavor and taste. Food additives not only help to enhance certain qualities of food such as color, flavor, and flexibility, but also improve the nutrition of food. The addition of proper food nutrition enhancers can make up nutrition loss during food processing, effectively prevent malnutrition and nutrient deficiency, and promote nutrition balance. The use of food additives such as defoaming agents, stabilizers and coagulants in food is conducive to the operations during food processing. In addition, food additives benefit the commercial convenience by extending the shelf life and working in the manufacturing process, through packaging, or during storage or transport.
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