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Humectants

Keeping your food fresh, for longer

In order to reduce waste and cut costs, food products need to remain fresh for as long as possible. Consumer food products that quickly change in appearance, texture, and consistency easily get pushed to the side, as customers avoid eating foods that dry out. In some cases, companies need to add ingredients to keep products moist for proper storage and consumption.

Fortunately, humectant additives are a solution for keeping foods visually appealing. Adding humectants to food and drink products keeps your merchandise fresh, drawing water, and satisfying to the taste buds.

Olive oil dripping from stainless steel pipe

Different types of humectants

Humectants are hygroscopic additives for keeping products moist. These substances serve a variety of food and nutrition industries, as humectants control product changes from environmental shifts. Humectant compounds are able to attract and retain moisture by absorbing water vapor to a product's surface. Some food products have a natural ability to draw in moisture.

Culinary professionals include the following products in recipes to extend shelf life:

  • Honey: Humectants are effective for sweets and desserts. Honey holds onto water without sacrificing texture characteristics of baked products.
  • Sugar: It is a natural humectant suitable for solid and wet food products. High amounts of sugar are able to bind with moisture for preservation against premature spoilage.
  • Salt: It is one of the oldest known humectants, and high amounts of salts prevent spoilate. Food professionals use salt to both preserve product and enhance flavor.
  • Functionality of humectants in food products

    The most common humectants for the food industry are polyols. This is a family of very effective humectant compounds with colorless, odorless, and sweet-tasting properties. Regularly used in various applications, this ingredient works as a bulking and thickening agent, as well as a sugar substitute for food products. The most popular polyols are sorbitol, erythritol, maltitol, xylitol, glycerin, and MPG, depending on the final application. Local food regulations are used in various applications like bakery, confectionery, dairy, and many others.

    The purpose of including humectants in original products is to control water activity within foods. By drawing in moisture in the air, humectants prevent foods from drying out, crystallizing, and breaking apart. This helps food hold its shape and texture.

Get in contact for fresh food products

Our food experts in our Food & Nutrition Application & Development Center can support you in extending the shelf life of your product by finding the right humectant to use.

Contact us and learn more about the possibilities of using humectants in your product.

Simply fill out the form and a Brenntag representative will contact you shortly.

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