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The term Food Universe describes the ever growing and sheer unlimited cosmos of food products. Though this cosmos seems to perpetually expand, like the universe, it can be broken down into a small number of defined parts which allow the categorisation of food products.

The food industry categorizes food products most often by their

  • raw material source, e.g. dairy products, cereals, fish or meat products, fruit preparations
  • functional properties exhibited in food, e.g. spices, table top sweetener
  • consumer product categorization, e.g. ice cream, confectionery, beverages
  • technology used, e.g. bakery products, high boiled candies
  • consumer advantages, e.g. convenience food, light, low carb, low fat, low cholesterol.

One of the manifold ways of categorization is shown the below figure.


Any form of categorisation is man-made and needs to take into account the needs of the organisation working with it. The regulatory categorisation takes other reasons into account as a business classification, i.e. consumer exposure towards particular food additives in certain food categories with the aim to ensure compliance with ADI values, or the determination of the growth rate of a particular food category with the aim to focus development resources.

A typical regulatory categorisation is found in the Annex II or EU regulation 1333/2008, which defines 18 food categories which are further defined in detail in sub and subsub categories, for instance:

13. Foods intended for particular nutritional uses as defined by Directive 2009/39/EC

13.1. Foods for infants and young children

13.1.4. Other foods for young children

Each sub or subsub category might have a specific maximum dosage assigned to a particular food additive, i.e. E number, such as modified starch or polyol. In 13.1.4. Other foods for young children modified starches such as

  • E 1404 Oxidised starch
  • E 1410 Monostarch phosphate
  • E 1412 Distarch phosphate
  • E 1413 Phosphated distarch phosphate
  • E 1414 Acetylated distarch phosphat
  • E 1420 Acetylated starch
  • E 1422 Acetylated distarch adipate
  • E 1450 Starch sodium octenyl succinate

are limited to a dosage of 50,000 ppm.