What is Humectants in Foods? Definition, common Examples & Functions 2020.
Humectants are moisture retention agents. Their functions in foods include control of viscosity and texture, bulking, retention of moisture, reduction of water activity, control of crystallization, and improvement or retention of softness. They also help improve the rehydration of dehydrated food and solubilization of flavor compounds.
A humectant is a hygroscopic substance used to keep things moist, it is the opposite of a desiccant because it is wet. It is often a molecule with several hydrophilic group, most often hydroxyl groups; however, amines and carboxyl groups, sometimes esterified can be encountered as well.
- Humectant can also be defined as a food additives, used to reduce the loss of moisture and increase it's retentivity.
- Polyhydroxy alcohols are water soluble, hygroscopic materials which exhibit moderate viscosities at high concentrations in water and are used as humectants in food.
- Some of them are propylene glycol, glycol, sorbitol, mannitol, polyhydric alcohols are sugar derivatives and most of them, except propylene glycol, occur naturally.
- Humectants are used in stabilization of food products and lengthening shelf life through food and moisture control.
Function of Humectants in Foods :
Examples of Food Humectants :
- Butylene glycol
- Hexylene glycol
- Humectant Glycerin
- Alpha hydroxy acids