Here to… preserve!
Preservatives are often perceived by customers as modern harmful chemicals. But their main role is actually… to protect us. Food needs to be preserved against micro-organisms to stay safe, appealing and tasty for longer. And it has been the case for centuries: our ancestors already smoked or salted meat to preserve it from going bad.
The main sources of food spoilage are oxidation, temperature, light and the growth of microorganisms like bacteria and moulds. Several ways are used to preserve food: freezing, dehydration, canning for example but also the addition of antioxidants. To preserve food from the growing of microorganisms like moulds and thus prolong their shelf-life, we use food additives called preservatives.
Preservatives are added to prolong the shelf life of foods by protecting them against micro-organisms. Antioxidants are substances which prolong the shelf life of foods by protecting them against oxidation (i.e. fat rancidity and colour changes).
Not always. When you cook, you use preservatives as well! Did you know that vinegars are often used for their preservative properties? And one of the mainly used preservatives, E200 or sorbic acid is also present in nature in Sorbus, a plant from the rose family. We also use its salt, sorbate or E202 in fat spreads.
Natural or chemical, all the preservatives used in foodstuffs are assessed and tightly controlled by European and worldwide institutions to guarantee their safety. Learn more about E-numbers and regulation here.
Preservatives help lower food waste.
For our Vandemoortele Clean Label, we decided to use zero preservatives as it is one of your customers’ expectations. But for some products we cannot offer a Clean Label alternative. For low-fat margarines, we need to add E202 (sorbate) to give consumers enough time to consume the product before expiry date. For these products, sorbate is part of the best "Better for You"balance, until we find a better solution. Avoiding preservatives in the products where they are still essential makes it more challenging to limit food waste at several levels of the supply chain.
For our bakery products, we use deep-freezing techniques to preserve food in a natural way. And our products are usually consumed quickly after defrosting. We can then guarantee the best TASTE balance, without using preservatives.