Date: 28/02/2024

The Food Ingredients industry plays a crucial role in worldwide food safety, defining not only the taste and texture of foods, but also influencing their quality and creating trends in consumer acceptance.

Therefore, understanding the properties and use of these ingredients is fundamental to ensure the production of high quality food and to meet the market needs, which can be divided into many categories, each one performing specific functions in the formulation of food products.

Some of the main categories include:

  • ● Emulsifiers: used to allow the mixture of ingredients that normally don’t mix, such as water and oil, stabilizing the resulting emulsion;
  • ● Stabilizers: they help maintain the consistency, texture and stability of the food during processing and storage;
  • ● Flavorings: impart aroma and taste to foods, which can be natural or artificial.
  • ● Colorants: used to add color to foods, enhancing their appearance and visual appeal.
  • ● Preservatives: help extend the shelf life of foods by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and delaying deterioration.
  • ● Thickeners: increase the viscosity and consistency of foods, giving them a desirable texture.
  • ● Acidulants: impart acidity to foods, enhancing flavor and acting as preservatives.
  • ● Sweeteners: used to sweeten foods, they can be natural (such as sugars) or artificial (such as synthetic sweeteners).

Each category of ingredients has specific characteristics and functions that influence directly the properties of food and final products.

Within each ingredient category, there are those considered essential for the production of a wide range of products - just like the formulations present in BRF Ingredients portfolio, which we will address later on.

Flours, Fats and Oils, Flavorings and Proteins are examples of key ingredients that play a central role in many recipes and in the Food Ingredients industry.

The choice of what ingredients to use can significantly change the taste, texture and quality of the ingredients and their sensorial function in the final production.

Three categories and food groups

According to the NOVA classification, foods are divided into four different categories, however, we are specially interested in the division of three of them.

The NOVA classification emerged during the end of 2000s first decade, when researchers from Nupens [1] (Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health) pointed out changes in the perception of industrial food processing. They are:

Group 1: unprocessed or minimally processed food

Unprocessed foods are those accessed directly from nature, such as seeds, fruits, leaves, roots, muscles, eggs, milk, among others; while minimally processed foods are a source of ingredients that need some processing before distribution to consumers, but don’t have the addition of substances and ingredients that deprive them of their characteristics.

Some examples are the BRF Ingredients’ Soy Proteins and Flours, which are thermally treated with a specific technology that don’t substantially change the main properties of unprocessed foods, in this case, soy.

Group 2: processed culinary ingredients

Some unprocessed or minimally processed foods need to be cooked and/or seasoned. Thus, the processed culinary ingredients arise, which are substances extracted from foods in Group 1, processed through pressing, centrifugation, and concentration.

In this case, examples include olive oil obtained from olives, butter obtained from milk, sugar obtained from sugarcane or beets. From the BRFi Food Ingredients portfolio, Vegetable Oils and Fats, as well as Natural Meat Flavors, fit into this category.

Those ingredients are essential to convert foods from Group 1 into recipes and meals, taking into account the sensory analysis of foods, expanding textures and enhancing flavors.

Group 3: processed foods

Furthermore, processed foods can increase the shelf life of the original ingredients, also contributing to diversifying the diet.

It is worth remembering that the quality of foods is directly influenced by the choice and properties of the ingredients used in their production. Fresh ingredients with better characteristics tend to result in tastier and more nutritious products.

Classification Nova - Group 1: In natura food - Group 2: Processed culinary ingredients - Group 3: Processed food

It is noticeable that the proper combination of ingredients can contribute to the desired texture, attractive appearance, and extended shelf life of foods.

While Food Ingredients products play an essential role in producing tasty and appealing foods, it is important to also consider the nutritional and health aspects associated with these ingredients.

Some of them, such as sugars and saturated fats, can contribute to health problems when consumed in excess, while others, such as fibers, proteins, and vegetable oils, are important for a balanced diet.

Ingredients to Provide More Flavor and Texture

When formulating food products, BRF Ingredients takes into account the nutritional guidelines and health concerns of consumers, aiming to balance taste, nutrition, and sustainability.

The Food Ingredients portfolio comprises various products with their production specifications, applications, and benefits. Included are: NatSense Natural Meat Flavors; Soy Proteins and Flours; Breading Flours; and Sense Vegetable Fats.

NatSense Natural Meat Flavors

As preservatives and flavor enhancers, BRF Ingredients' NatSense Natural Meat Flavors have various aromatic applications and are produced from fresh raw materials sourced from animals within the integrated BRF chain.

While the flavor preservatives are developed through slow cooking, the enhancers are produced through enzymatic hydrolysis. They can be applied in the development of other flavors or in products with sweet and savory bases. They include:

  • ● NatSense Sodium Reducer;
  • ● NatSense Chicken Broth;
  • ● NatSense Chicken Broth with salt;
  • ● NatSense Chicken;
  • ● NatSense Beef.

Soy Proteins and Flours

Derived from grains treated thermally with specific technology, Soy Proteins and Flours contain nutrients and important extending functions, improving the sensory profile of the product, promoting texture maintenance, liquid retention, and aiding in the juiciness of the final product. The BRFi portfolio includes:

  • ● Texturized Soy Protein;
  • ● Texturized Soy Protein with Poultry Skin;
  • ● Supper-M Defatted Soy Flour;
  • ● Active soyMax-M Defatted Soy Flour.

Breading Flours

Produced through the extrusion process of natural raw materials such as wheat and corn, BRF Ingredients' Breading Flours are available in different colors and grain sizes, providing crispiness and texture according to the needs of the final food application.

  • ● Cracker Breading Flour;
  • ● Expanded Breading Flour.

SENSE Vegetable Fats

BRF Ingredients' SENSE Vegetable Fats ensure high performance, creaminess, and structure for ingredients and formulations, but with a crucial characteristic: low levels of saturated fats and zero trans fats.

The BRF Ingredients product portfolio enhances texture, offers versatility of application, maintains high crystallization performance even at high temperatures, thus improving the healthiness of formulations in various sectors of the food industry.

  • ● Frying and Spraying Fat;
  • ● Fat for Doughs and Baking;
  • ● Fat for Ice Creams;
  • ● Industrial Margarine with Salt.

The extensive applications and benefits of BRF Ingredients products reaches a variety of foods and recipes, whether savory or sweet. In this sense, it is always necessary to highlight the use of BRFi ingredients in sweet foods.

The addition of soy proteins in sweet foods can generate stable emulsions, replacing chemical emulsifiers and obtaining products with the same consistency. In fillings, inactive soy flour favors emulsion formation, which provides a viscosity gain, favoring aeration, which is interesting for ice creams.

Therefore, the choice of raw materials (Group 1) for the formulation of foods in Groups 2 and 3 is essential to meet consumers' increasing demands, both in terms of quality and safety, as well as traceability and sustainability.

Since there are many factors influencing the decision-making process when purchasing a food product, increasingly specific aspects contribute to consumers' decision to purchase or not.

Brand reputation, nutritional value of the product, market practices, information on integrated production systems, the path the product has traveled, among others. One of the key points is the sensory experience that an ingredient or brand causes, as well as the company's relationship with the environment.

Therefore, one of the greatest challenges the food industry faces is making nutritious and healthy foods sensorially pleasing. Sensory analysis consists of improving the aroma profile, taste, texture, and appearance. And, as we have seen above, these elements form the basis of the Food Ingredients portfolio.

Finally, Food Ingredients products play a vital role in the food industry, influencing not only the taste and quality of foods but also their safety and acceptance by consumers.

By understanding the properties and applications of these ingredients, the industry can ensure quality standards for food production that meet the demands of an increasingly demanding and modern market.


As the food industry continues to evolve, the search for new ingredients and innovative technologies continues to drive the creation of products that meet consumers' demands for quality, variety, and sustainability.

By understanding the importance and characteristics of key culinary ingredients across different food groups, we can better grasp consumer demand and the science that should guide food production.

Therefore, at the intersection of science, culinary art, and taste, culinary ingredients play a crucial role in the food industry, shaping flavors, textures, and sensory experiences.

From the most basic elements to those elaborately manufactured industrially, these ingredients are the building blocks of a wide range of food products.

Explore the BRFi Food Ingredients portfolio by visiting the page: Food Ingredients - BRF Ingredients.


[1] Núcleo de Pesquisas Epidemiológicas em Nutrição e Saúde (Nupens-USP). A classificação NOVA. Available in: A classificação NOVA | Nupens ( Access in February 2024.

[2] Menegassi, Bruna, et. al. A nova classificação de alimentos: teoria, prática e dificuldades. Revista Ciência e Saúde, 23 (12), dezembro de 2018. Available in: Access in February 2024.

[3] Soares, Ana Paula da Costa, et. al. (orgs). Alimentos com propriedades funcionais e de saúde: evidências e pretensos efeitos. Edifes, 2023. Available in: 9788582636176.pdf ( Access in February 2024.