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General Information, Facts & Tables
[Food Additive Functions]

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The table below lists the common food additive functions and their sub classes.

See Also: Food Additives by Number

Food Additive Functions

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Sub Classes


Increase the acidity and gives the food a sour taste.


Bulking Agents

A substance other than air or water, which contributes to the to the bulk of a food without contributing significantly to its available energy value.

Bulking Agent, Filler.


Adds or restores colour in a food.

Colouring Agent


Forms or maintains a uniform mixture of two or more immiscible phases such surface as oil and water in a food.

Emulsifier, Plasticiser, Dispersing Agent, Surface Active Agent, Surfactant, Wetting Agent.

Firming Agent

Makes of keeps tissues of fruit or vegetables firm and crisp, or interacts with gelling agents to produce or strengthen a gel.

Firming Agent

Gelling Agent

Gives a food texture through formation of a gel.

Gelling Agent.


Prevents food from drying out by counteracting the effect of a wetting agent atmosphere having a low degree of humidity.

Moisture / Water Retention Agent, Wetting Agent.

Acidity Regulator

Regulates the acidity or alkalinity of a food.

Acid, Alkali, Base, Buffer, Buffering Agent,PH Adjusting Agent.

Anticaking Agent

Minimises the tendency of individual particles of a food to adhere to each other.

Anticaking Agent, Antistick Agent, Drying Agent, Dusting Powder, Release Agent

Glazing Agent

A substance which, when applied to the external surface of a food, imparts a shiny appearance or provides a protective coating.

Coating, Sealing Agent, Polish.

Foaming Agent

Makes it possible to form or maintain a uniform dispersion of a gaseous phase in a liquid or solid food.

Whipping Agent, Aerating Agent.

Antifoaming Agent

Prevents or reduces the foaming of a food.

Antifoaming Agent.


A gas, other than air used to expel a food from it's container.



Prolongs the shelf life of a food by protecting against deterioration caused by microorganisms.

Antimycotic Agent, Bacteriophage Control Agent, Chemosterilant / Wine Maturing Agent, Disinfection Agent

Colour Retention Agent

Stabilises, retains or intensifies the colour of a food.

Colour Fixative, Colour Stabiliser.


Makes it possible to maintain a uniform dispersion of two or more immiscible substances in a food.

Binder, Firming Agent, Moisture / Water Retention Agent, Foam Stabiliser.


Used to increase the viscosity of a food.

Thickening agent, Texturiser, Bodying Agent

Flour Treatment Agent

A substance added to flour to improve its baking quality or colour.

Bleaching Agent, Dough Improver, Flour Improver.

Flavour Enhancer

Enhances the existing taste and/or odour of a food.

Flavour Enhancer, Flavour Modifier, Tenderiser.


A non-sugar substance which imparts a sweet taste to a food.

Sweetener, Artificial Sweetener, Nutritive Sweetener.


Extends the shelf life of a food by reducing the effect of oxidisation.

Antioxidant, Antioxidant Synergist, Sequestrant.

Emulsifying Salt

Rearranges cheese proteins in the manufacture of processed cheese, in order to prevent fat separation.

Melding Salt, Sequestrant.

Raising Agent

A substance or combination of substances which liberate gas and thereby increase the volume of a dough.

Leavening Agent, Raising Agent