What They Do: Makes it possible to form or maintain a uniform dispersion of a gaseous phase in a liquid or solid food.
The main types of these items used in commercial food processing are unnatural, laboratory created gasses. These gasses make food foam unnaturally, or maintain the foam longer than would be normal, or make food foam that never would by any natural process. Some of these products have a history of not being healthy for humans. Since the labeling requirements do not always require true full disclosure, there is no way of being able to truly know what is in the food.
They have no use in the home kitchen. The home cook can achieve foam by whipping, which really is using the room air and beating as the foaming agent. For some things, the heat of cooking will cause some of the ingredients used to foam, such as when baking soda is added to a recipe.
How it may be described on a label:
- Aerating agent
- Foaming agent
- Whipping agent