Overview of Food Emulsifiers

  • Gerard L. Hasenhuettl


Food emulsions, colloids, and foams have their origins in the evolution of animal species. Milk has a naturally occurring membrane that allows the dispersion of fat droplets into an aqueous environment. Early food formulations to produce butter, whipped cream, cheese, and ice cream built upon the natural emulsifiers present in the system. The development of mayonnaise in France as a cold sauce utilized the natural egg phospholipids to disperse a liquid oil into an acidified aqueous phase. The emulsifying power is still very impressive by today’s standards since it allowed up to 80% oil to be dispersed without inversion to an oil-continuous emulsion. The invention of margarine by the French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriés in 1889 utilized the solid fat of tallow to produce a stable oil-continuous emulsion to serve as a low-cost substitute for butter. In this case, the emulsion had to be stable temporarily only until the product was chilled.


Peanut Butter European Economic Community Food Emulsifier Lipophilic Group Coffee Whitener 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1997

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  • Gerard L. Hasenhuettl

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