Food additives are a tricky subject. Food producers are working on ways to extend the life of food products without adding chemicals or preservatives that are going to cause an outcry due to their potential as health hazards.
When it comes to a product that requires refrigeration and has a limited shelf life, producers struggle to find a way to make sure consumers are buying the product before it has to be thrown away. Then, a miracle appears: they hear of an additive called carrageenan.
Useful in the Background: Carrageenan Stays Prevalent
We have come a long way from smoking meat and using iceboxes for refrigeration. During that time, carrageenan was found and determined a useful additive for stabilizing food products and non-food products alike. It has been found to help in extending shelf life and storing foods on shelves that previously required constant refrigeration.
The use of carrageenan has been prevalent for 40 years. The additive is created through processing red seaweed. The process has been refined to the point that the amount of carrageenan in the seaweed is optimized and the amount that can be used is increased. This means good things for those who need the carrageenan and less waste for those who handle the processing of the red seaweed.
Today’s World Sees Carrageenan as Helpful, Not Hurting
The people who make products with carrageenan need to balance the production of their product and the cost of that process with the time frame for product viability and the reactions of the consumer to the additives that are used to increase both the product viability and profit that is gained. Consumer reaction can make the difference between a profit and a significant hit in the market, sometimes shutting down a business due to issues with production and the additives used.
Using an additive that comes from a naturally growing plant is helpful to consumer perception of the safety of the additive. Also, it is important to remember that studies have been done on carrageenan for a number of years, compared to additives that are new to the market and may end up having some significant health impacts in the future. All of the studies related to carrageenan use have come back with favorable results, no findings that show connection to serious effects like cancer or health issues that cannot be undone.
Any of these factors alone might make an additive appealing to a company trying to make their product more consumer friendly. Adding all of these benefits together make the use of carrageenan a no-brainer for the competitive food market. It is also a great option for the non-food product market, as it helps stabilize the product and cut down on things like Volatile Organic Content (VOCs) in products like paint. This means good things for a company trying to improve their environmentally friendly business practices.
Using the right additives can make or break production practices. That is why it is important to be aware of something like carrageenan on the market and put it to the best use possible in products that need positive consumer feedback.