Every day we all eat processed food in one form or the other. Any change brought about in a food on purpose before we eat it is food processing.
What is processed Food?
Processed food is not just canned and frozen food but also
- Cut vegetables, roasted nuts etc.
- Foods reinforced with nutrients like vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, and fibre
- Foods with claims of being healthy and nutritious
- Packed foods like cereals, meat and poultry, baby foods etc.
- Canned foods like beans, tomatoes, tuna, fruits -processed to maintain their nutritional values and freshness.
- Foods with added ingredients like spices, oils, colours, sweeteners
- Ready to eat foods like wafers, meat etc. frozen foods, bread, fruit juices etc.
Processed foods stay for a longer time and are more user friendly. Harmful bacteria and micro-organisms are also killed. They can be carried for long distances without them getting spoilt. Occurrence of food borne diseases is reduced due to processing of food.
Spices in Processed food
Spices add flavour, colour and aroma to food. Food becomes more attractive and tasty as spices add a unique taste. These are used as natural food preservatives. Mixtures of spices have been developed to add flavor to processed food.
- Processed Meat – Pepper is added to meat for its flavour and also to maintain its quality. In fresh sausages spices like pepper, capsicum, nutmeg, ginger, and herbs are added. In pickled meat and dry sausages coriander and cardamom is also used.
Cardamom, chilli, pepper, paprika, nutmeg, mace, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, cumin powder, are some of the spices used in processed meat.
- Soups, Sauces, Chutneys, Dressings – The demand for processed soups, chutneys, sauces, etc. is increasing day by day. Spices like celery, pepper, capsicum, onion and garlic are used to add flavour and taste to these. For barbeque sauces, coriander and ginger extracts are used.
- Fish and Vegetables – A wide range of spices and herbs are used to make pickled and brined vegetables and fish.
- Cheese and Dairy products – Spices like pepper and cumin are used to add different taste and flavours to a variety of cheese and dairy products like pepper cheese spread. Pepper and cumin are added to packed buttermilk too.
- Baked Products – Cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger etc. are some of the spices used in baked products available in the market today.
- Confectionary – Use of spices in confectionary is unusual. But cardamom oil used in chocolates, toffees and other confectionary items has found a new market for these products.
- Snacks – Pepper, chilli powder, celery, turmeric powder, masala mix, cumin, coriander etc. are some of the spices that add flavour and taste to the yummy snacks we love to eat.
- Beverages – Ginger oil is used to make ginger beer. Many other spices like cloves, cardamom, cumin etc. are used to make soft beverages.
Today a wide variety of food is available to people across the country and in other countries as well due to processing of food and spices help to add different flavours, tastes and colours to these processed foods.