Stabilizers are an indispensable substance in food items that categorised as food additives. When added to the food items, they smoothen the texture of the food & give a definite body to the food. Food stabilisers are added in relatively small amount which aggravate the effect of emulsifiers. They give a uniform nature to the product & hold the flavoring compounds in dispersion. Perfect binders for the varied conflicting components, food stabilizers are a must.
Definitions of Stabilisers
Definition of Stabilisers according to Food Processing Technology
"Stabilisers are substances or chemicals that allow food ingredients, which do not mix well, to remain in a homogenous state after blending."
Definition of Stabilisers according to Food Law (Directive 95/2/EC), UK
"Stabilizers are substances which make it possible to maintain the physico-chemical state of a foodstuff; stabilizers include substances which enable the maintenance of a homogenous dispersion of two or more immiscible substances in a foodstuff and include also substances which stabilize, retain or intensify an existing colour of a foodstuff."
Food stabilisers are confused with preservatives. But there is a difference between the two. Stabilisers is used to retain the physical characteristics of the food whereas as preservatives prevent the spoilage of the food. Food stabilisers increases the stability and thickness of the food by binding its large molecules.
Purpose of Stabilisers
- They maintain the consistency of the food
- Food stabilisers do not allow the separation of ingredients that are bound together by emulsifiers.
Common Food Stabilisers
Food Stabilisers - Lecithin
- Alginic acid is a popular food stabiliser that is derived from brown algae is used in ice-cream and syrups that we use on desserts.
- Agar agar is also used as a food stabilisers in the food products like canned meat and pudding.
- Carrageenan is like agar agar that is also obtained from red algae. It is used in shampoos.
- Then there is gelatin, another food stabiliser.
- Pectin or calcium chloride are used as food stabilisers in dairy products.
- Lecithin and mono- and digycerides.
Applications of Stabilisers for Food
Stabilisers for food are used in many kinds of products. The most common ones that uses the food stabilisers are
- Ice Cream
- Low-fat spreads
- Dairy products
- Salad dressings