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What are Mono and Diglycerides (E471) in Food

Mono and diglycerides, identified as E471 in food labeling, are common food additives used in various food products. They belong to the category of emulsifiers and play crucial roles in food processing and product quality enhancement. This article will give you a comprehensive overview of Mono and Diglycerides (E471), including its definition, source, uses, benefits, and is it safe.

What are Mono and Diglycerides?

Mono- and diglycerides are food additives derived from glycerol and fatty acids, with monoglycerides having one fatty acid chain attached to glycerol and diglycerides having two. They act as emulsifiers in food products, helping to mix ingredients that would not normally blend together, such as oil and water, thereby improving texture, stability, and shelf life.


What are Mono and Diglycerides

What is Mono- and Diglycerides Made Out Of?

Mono- and diglycerides (E471), classified as glycerides due to their composition of fatty acids bonded to glycerol, are part of the lipid family. Triglycerides, found in dietary fats and oils, undergo enzymatic metabolism in our bodies to yield mono- and diglycerides alongside individual fatty acids. Additionally, there is indication that mono- and diglycerides can form during the preparation of specific food items. Thus, they are recognized as a lipid source.

The production of mono- and diglycerides involves the chemical reaction between glycerol and fatty acids derived from either plant or animal sources. Alternatively, they can originate from the breakdown of plant or animal fats and oils. Natural sources encompass a variety of plant oils such as soybean, grapeseed, canola, sunflower, cottonseed, coconut, and palm oils, as well as plant pomace like grape or tomato pomace, and certain animal fats.

Mono- and diglycerides E417 boast a lengthy history of manufacturing and utilization, which has led to more cost-effective production methods ensuring higher purity and consistent quality. It is crucial to note that regardless of their source or production method, mono- and diglycerides are held to stringent food safety regulations similar to those applied to all food products.

What are the Uses of Mono and Diglycerides?  

Mono and diglycerides is a versatile additive that mainly used as emulsifier in the following foods:  

1. Bread: Mono- and diglycerides E471 can be used to improve the softness, volume, and texture of bread. They can also help to extend the shelf life of bread.
2. Ice cream: They can be used to improve the creamy mouthfeel of ice cream. They can also help to stabilize the air in ice cream, create a stable structure, and reduce freezing time. 
3. Cake mixes: They can be used to improve the volume, texture, and tenderness of cakes. They can also help to improve the crumb structure of cakes.
4. Cheese: Mono- and diglycerides can be used to obtain a smooth texture in cheese. They are often used in peanut butter. 
5. Margarine: Mono- and diglycerides can be used to stabilize the emulsion in margarine. This helps to prevent the margarine from separating.
6. Desserts: Mono- and diglycerides can be used to benefit aeration and foam stability in desserts. This helps to create a lighter and more airy texture.
7. Spreads and butter: Mono- and diglycerides can be used to improve the emulsion stabilization and spreadability of spreads and butter. They can also help to reduce stickiness and improve flavor.

Mono and Diglycerides uses in Food

What are the Mono- and Diglycerides Benefits?  

Mono- and diglycerides offer several benefits as food additives:

1. Emulsification: Their primary function is as emulsifiers. They help blend ingredients that wouldn't normally mix well, like oil and water.This prevents separation and creates a smooth, stable product.

2. Improved Texture and Shelf Life: In baked goods, they improve loaf volume and texture, keeping bread and treats soft and moist for longer.They can also prevent ice crystals from forming in frozen foods, maintaining a smooth texture.
3. Reduced Stickiness: They help reduce stickiness in various products, making them easier to handle and consume.
4. Controlled Crystallization: They can control the formation of crystals, ensuring a smooth texture and preventing unwanted grittiness. 
5. Edible Coatings: They can be used as edible coatings on fresh produce, protecting against spoilage and extending shelf life. 

Are Mono and Diglycerides Safe to Eat? 


Yes, it is safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers them "generally recognized as safe" for use as food additives. This means there's no evidence of significant health risks at typical consumption levels.

Final Thoughts


Mono and diglycerides (E471) are versatile food additives widely used in the food industry to improve emulsification, texture, and stability in various food products. Understanding their roles and regulatory status empowers consumers and industry professionals to make informed decisions regarding food choices and product formulations.  

If you want to know more details about it or need samples, feel free to contact Chemsino experts today!

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