Taste, texture, freshness and appearance are a few of the major contributions food ingredients and food additives make toward the enjoyment of food. By aiding in the processing and preparation of foods, ingredients also help to maintain certain desirable qualities that are associated with various foods.
For example, salad dressings are expected to stay mixed once they have been shaken. Emulsifiers such as lecithin from soybeans help dressings stay mixed and improve texture in many other foods. Emulsifiers are also used to provide smoothness in ice cream, increase volume and impart fine grain quality in breads, and achieve better consistency in cake mixes.
Food additives are classified by the functions they serve in food processing. Below is a list of food ingredient classifications and their uses.