Everyone is talking about food additives and how they’re bad for our health. But…
What are food additives?
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) food additives are substances that are added to food to maintain or improve the safety, freshness, taste, texture, or appearance of food. Some food additives have been in use for centuries for preservation – such as salt or sugar.
The use of food additives is only justified when their use has a technological need, does not mislead consumers, and serves a well-defined technological function, such as to preserve the nutritional quality of the food or enhance the stability of the food.
WHO, in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) groups food additives into 3 broad categories based on their function.
Flavouring agents – which are added to food to improve aroma or taste – make up the greatest number of additives used in foods.
Enzyme preparations are a type of additive that may or may not end up in the final food product. Enzymes are naturally-occurring proteins that boost biochemical reactions by breaking down larger molecules into their smaller building blocks. One example of use is in baking – to improve the dough.
Other food additives are used for a variety of reasons, such as preservation, colouring, and sweetening.
We do our very best to use artificial food additives as less as possible. We do flavor our food and we do like our food to taste great and to look beautiful, but we take advantage of everything that nature has to offer us for this.
We use salt to enhance the taste or, sometimes, to make it milder (for example for marinated onion in our BLT). We however use only sea salt.
We also use natural spices to bring out the flavours – such as pepper, chilli, freshly squeezed lemon juice etc.
For sweetening, as mentioned here, we only use natural sweeteners, such as maple syrup, agave syrup or coconut nectar, depending on the dish.
And when we want to color it nicely, nature is the way to go as well. Lemon zest, blueberries, curcuma, paprika, spinach, beetroot, carrot…you name it! If it has a color in the nature, it can bring a color on your plate.
The only additives present in our food are not specifically added by us, but already existent in some of the ingredients we use, such as the soy sauce we use in some of the dishes, the canned chickpeas used for hummus etc.