Acidulants are added to foods for many different reasons. For example, they are used as flavour modifiers, preservation aids, and processing aids. In addition, they facilitate the development of a wide variety of textural effects because of their interaction with other constituents such as gums, pectins, proteins, and starches. Unencapsulated food acids can react with food ingredients to produce many undesirable effects. These include deceased shelf life of citrus-flavoured foods and starch-containing foods, lost of flavour, degradation of colour, and separation of ingredients. Encapsulated food acids resolve these and other problems because they preclude oxidation and provide controlled release, with their coating formulated to dissolve or melt at specific temperatures. Furthermore, encapsulated acids reduce hygroscopicity, reduced dusting, and provide a high degree of flowability without clumping. Examples of encapsulated acidulants that are commercially available are adipic acid, ascorbic acid, citric acid, fumaric acid, lactic acid, and malic acid.
- Flavouring agents and spices are encapsulated by a variety of processes and offer numerous advantages to the food processor. Citrus oil and other flavours, e.g., provide enhanced stability to oxidation, volatilisation, and light; controlled release; resistance to clumping and caking; and substantially longer shelf life.
Mailard reaction products used in savory, meat, and seafood flavours are highly unstable in the liquid form and need to be convert to the dry or oil form. Encapsulation of these confers even greater stability.
Encapsulated flavours are available as natural flavours, natural and artificial flavours, essential oils (menthol, peppermint, and spearmint), oleoresins, natural flavours with other natural flavours added, chips, and artificial flavours. Although encapsulated flavours may be used in many different applications, they are currently gaining considerable attention for they stability through high-temperature/short-time processes such as those utilised in preparing extruded foods and microwavable foods.
Spices are encapsulated to extend shelf life, retain potency, and inhibit reactions with other ingredients. For example, cinnamaldehyde, a flavouring agent with natural antimicrobial properties present in cinnamon, can retard the growth of yeast in yeast- leavened baked goods. Fat-encapsulated cinnamon still contributes flavour to the baked products but does not interfere with the leavening process.
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