A Comprehensive Guide to Food Emulsifiers: Applications, Health Benefits, and More
Are you curious about the ingredients that make sauces, salad dressings, and other food products smooth and creamy? One of the possible answers lies in food emulsifiers, which help mix ingredients that usually would not combine. These compounds can be either artificial or naturally occurring and have several purposes in food manufacturing.
As the leading food emulsifier wholesale supplier in the Philippines, Wills International Sales Corporation is here to help you learn more about this essential food ingredient and how to get the most out of it. Keep reading to discover its various benefits and applications.
Food Emulsifiers: What Are They Exactly?
Try mixing oil and water. Even with your best efforts to stir, shake, or blend these substances, they will remain separated due to their distinct molecules. This is where food emulsifiers come in. Also known as emulgents, these additives help immiscible ingredients combine and preserve the taste, texture, and appearance of foods.
In the early 19th century, egg yolk was the first food emulsifier used in food applications. Its primary emulsifying agent is phospholipid lecithin, which allows oil to disperse in an acidified aqueous solution. However, egg yolk has a short shelf life, leading to the introduction of soybean-derived lecithin in the 1920s.
The creation of margarine by French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès in 1869 influenced the use of food emulsifiers on an industrial scale. It was only in the latter half of the 20th century that synthetic emulsifiers were extensively produced and used worldwide.
Currently, approximately 20 different types of food emulsifiers are produced at around 40,000 metric tons. This fast growth is driven by increasing demand for quality processed foods, like mayonnaise, chocolates, and ice cream, making emulsifiers a crucial ingredient.
Common Types of Food Emulsifiers
An emulsifier is mainly used to stabilize mixtures and keep ingredients from separating. It enhances food products’ viscosity, smoothness, and mouthfeel. Here are the leading types of food emulsifiers:
- Lecithin – Made up of fatty compounds found in eggs, this emulsifier is widely used in commercial baking. Adding lecithin to food mixtures can enhance shelf life and the amount of good cholesterol.
- Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR) – This additive is used in making chocolates for baking purposes. It improves the volume and thickness of cookies, chocolate coatings, and other similar food products.
- Fatty Acid Derivatives – Many emulsifiers can be extracted from fatty acids, including polyglycerol esters, common in cakes and icings, and sucrose esters, essential for gums, sauces, and coffees.
- Mono and Diglycerides – These compounds create whipping foams and handle fat agglomeration. In chocolate products, monoglycerides create a melting sensation in the mouth. Furthermore, they balance the crystalline structure of the food during processing.
Potential Health Benefits of Food Emulsifiers
Depending on the type, food emulsifiers can provide the following health benefits:
- Helps In Nutrient Absorption – Food emulsifiers, like lecithin, can assist in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A, D, and E. Furthermore, they have choline, which is vital for healthy metabolism, muscle movement, and brain development.
- Aids In Gastrointestinal Health – Natural food emulsifiers, like gums, pectin, and starches, provide probiotics that feed healthy bacteria in the gut and heal the gastrointestinal tract barrier. Moreover, these agents contain fiber that fills you faster and longer.
- Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol and Blood Sugar – Lecithin can help reduce cholesterol levels, while guar gum can help mitigate blood sugar spikes.
In general, food emulsifiers are safe when consumed in small amounts. Nevertheless, it always pays to do your due diligence and check the Food and Drug Administration’s approved additives. Furthermore, ensure you procure the best quality products from a reliable food emulsifier wholesale supplier in the Philippines.
Common Recipes That Require Food Emulsifiers
Many foods we love rely on emulsifiers to create signature flavors and textures. Here is a closer look at how these additives work in most common recipes and the benefits they bring to the table.
Margarines need specific flavor, texture, and stability qualities, which food emulsifiers can meet. Lecithin and fatty acids let water droplets evenly disperse throughout the oil phase. Meanwhile, lactic acid and polyglycerol esters improve the margarine’s quality and make it suitable for baking.
Although you can bake bread without food emulsifiers, it usually ends up dry and expires quickly. After all, ingredients like oil, eggs, flour, sugar, and cocoa have complex interactions. Adding a cake emulsifier can make the batter uniform and stable, significantly improving the bread’s texture, loaf volume, and shelf life.
Add 0.5% of food emulsifiers to chocolates to achieve the right consistency to mold them into various shapes. When chocolate is stored at excessively high temperatures, however, it might appear white or dull. This can make it less appealing to consumers. As a result, sorbitan tristearate is sometimes used to delay this occurrence.
Ice cream is one of the most complicated foods because it comprises fat particles, ice crystals, and an unfrozen aqueous mix. It is essential to use emulsifiers during the freezing process to achieve a smooth texture and not melt too quickly after being served. These compounds also enhance the ice cream’s freeze-thaw stability.
Processed meat typically consists of fat, water, and proteins combined in a stable emulsion. Food emulsifiers help stabilize this emulsion and distribute the fat evenly throughout the product. These agents help create a pleasant taste and texture for low-fat meat products like their full-fat versions.
Find a Food Emulsifier Wholesale Supplier in the Philippines
Since emulsifiers play a significant role in food production, partnering with a reputable supplier is important. After all, they can either make or break your food products.
At Wills International, we take pride in the quality of our food emulsifiers. Our products undergo a meticulous manufacturing process and comply with industry regulations to ensure they are safe and effective.
We understand that finding a suitable emulsifier for your needs can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to food production. As the trusted food emulsifier wholesale supplier in the Philippines, we will work closely with you and recommend the best additive for your specific applications.
Additionally, you can count on us to provide an uninterrupted supply of food emulsifiers at competitive prices for your business. Reach out to us to find out how we can help!
FAQs About Food Emulsifiers in the Philippines
What Are Suitable Alternatives for Emulsifiers?
Any ingredient that can achieve an emulsifier’s ability to stabilize food can be an alternative. This includes:
- Starch – It absorbs water at a cold temperature and expands to drive up the dough or batter’s viscosity.
- Protein – It plays a crucial role in providing baked goods’ flavor, color, foaming, and water-holding properties.
- Enzymes – They catalyze protein or peptide bonds to achieve better dough volume, texture, and gas retention.
- Hydrocolloids – While these are not considered emulsifiers, they can act as one by improving the water surface’s viscosity or by interacting with surface-active substances. Well-known hydrocolloids include gum arabic, propylene glycol alginate (PGA), and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC).
What Types of Emulsifiers Should You Avoid?
It is best to avoid synthetic emulsifiers, like polysorbate 80 and carboxymethyl cellulose, whenever possible, as they increase the risk of inflammation and affect the gut microbiome.
According to research investigating synthetic emulsifiers’ impact on the gut microbiome, scientists incorporated polysorbate 80 and carboxymethyl cellulose into a mucosal simulator. Results show that these emulsifiers aggravated the pro-inflammatory reaction.
What Are the Healthiest Types of Food Emulsifiers?
Naturally derived emulsifiers, like sunflower lecithin, are considered good for health, as they do not undergo an intensive extraction process as other additives. Pectin, starch, and guar gum also help maintain healthy cholesterol, digestion, and blood sugar.
It is clear that emulsifiers are ubiquitous in the foods we eat. These additives work hard behind the scenes to achieve the creamy texture of ice creams, silky smoothness of dressings, and much more. That said, using the right emulsifiers in your food products can make all the difference in their quality and appeal.
This is where Wills International comes in. Whether you need guidance or seek a specific emulsifier for your products, we are always ready to help. We only provide the best solutions and expertise you need to succeed. Get in touch with us today for inquiries!