In the food industry, the process of making new products involves combining all the necessary ingredients more than anything else. Due to the need for concoction, other operations such as grinding, particle size reduction, emulsification, etc would take place.
Successful food manufacturing requires equipment like Ginhong mixers that will help mill, grind, reduce particle size, homogenize, disperse, and emulsify. Once done, manufacturers need to make sure that fused molecules of ingredients will no longer depart from one another. In order to do this, emulsifying agents must be added to the overall compound to stabilize it.
Source: The Spruce
What is an emulsifier?
First, let’s define what an emulsifier is. As soon as stirring halts, the emulsion starts to separate again. To maintain the even mixture, an emulsifier is essential. An emulsifier acts as a bond that holds the particles of the ingredients altogether. It makes the finished product soft and smooth in texture, improves the quality of the mixture, and keeps it firm and stabilized.
Water spattering in food preparation or cooking is also reduced by an emulsifier. It leads to better dispersion, solubilization, crystal modification, foaming, creaming ability, etc. Emulsions have many functions in food processing, even in other industries as well.
The Common Food Emulsifiers
Now that we have understood the definition and functions of an emulsifier in processed foods, it’s time to jump into the enumerated and expounded common food emulsifiers. Let’s begin!
Lecithin is widely used in the commercial baking industry. This emulsifier, composed of fatty compounds, is present in eggs. Emulsifying properties are stored in the phospholipids existing in lecithin. It actually prevents the split of water and oil particles.
Good HDL cholesterol content is increased when lecithin is added to the food mixture, as stated by scientists. The droplets of oil in water are kept safe by this emulsifier, increasing the stability and shelf life of the food.
Lecithin is overflowing with health benefits too. It prevents high cholesterol and cirrhosis caused by drinking alcohol. Also, it improves nerve, brain and muscle functions.
- Fatty Acid Derivatives
There are different emulsifiers that can be derived from fatty acids. To name a few, polyglycerol esters (PGE), polysorbates, stearoyl lactylates, propylene glycol esters (PGMS), and sucrose esters are commonly known. In desserts like cakes and their icings, PGE is famously used. For toppings that are whippable, PGMS is mainly applied. Other products like gums, coffee, sauces, etc need sucrose esters in holding their particles.
- Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR)
Baking is an appealing activity, especially for moms. We all can’t deny that cookies are tasty that’s why our sweet tooths would always go for it anytime. In manufacturing chocolates for applications such as baking, polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR) works in enhancing the thickness and volume of the product. Chocolate coatings flow satisfactorily when PGPR is added unto its mixture. It also complements lecithin when combined.
Factories find PGPR as a helpful agent in maintaining the good quality of the chocolate or other products that require certain smoothness and viscosity. With that, baking will be much fun for everybody who loves doing it.
- Ammonium Phosphatide (AMP)
Ammonium phosphatide (AMP) is sunflower-based. The use of AMP has been most triumphant in chocolate and confectionery manufacturing. It is chiefly efficacious in achieving uniformity and steadiness of the mixture, leading to high-quality food products. It does pretty well in keeping the right attributes of the food. The size, texture, smell, texture, thickness, etc.
AMP can be used as a good alternative of lecithin but it can also be applied with it plus the PGPR.
- Mono and Diglycerides
Monoglycerides stay firm in the so-called ‘apha crystalline formation’. As it is very versatile, it works well in foams that are whippable while managing the agglomeration of fats. When water molecules need to be dispersed in a fat phase, monoglycerides serve as an instrument that fairly distributes water into the oil.
For products like chocolates, it gives the sensation that feels like the food product is melting inside your mouth – adding the tastiness of the food. It prompts the smoothness and consistency of the processed bulk. The crystalline structure of the food becomes balanced through its help.
These are the most used food emulsifiers from the early times until today. They are produced when palatable oils are blended with glycerin. Aside from chocolates, baked and dairy products are the ones to consume them most as well.
Aside from holding the ingredients altogether, emulsifiers make the food you eat much more appealing in taste and in appearance. Preservation is also important in prolonging the shelf lives of different products. An emulsifier helps in maintaining the freshness as well as good quality of goods for varying times of consumption. Low fat spreads are prone to mold growth. Hence, an emulsifier as an accessible solution.
There is an appropriate emulsifier for every application. Make sure you’re using the right one!