Ingredient Terms

Some ingredients used in some of our food products have strange names but are still natural, may not be derived 100% naturally, or may be misunderstood by a large percentage of consumers. We have listed these ingredients on this page for you.


CALCIUM CHLORIDE - is a mineral composed of one calcium atom and two chlorine atoms. Of its many uses, one is to increase the firmness of pickles and gives them the salty taste without adding excessive sodium. It’s generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. There’s currently no evidence to suggest it’s dangerous to consume in the amounts found in food and drink products.

CITRIC ACID - Citric acid is versatile, widely used, cheap, and safe. It is an important metabolite in virtually all living organisms and is especially abundant naturally in citrus fruits and berries. It is used as a strong acid, a tart flavoring, and an antioxidant. Sodium citrate, also safe, is a buffer that controls the acidity in many foods, helping to preserve them.

DEXTROSE - is a simple sugar chemically identical to glucose (blood sugar) that is made from corn starch and used as a sweetener. Dextrose is naturally occuring in plants and honey.

EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) - removes (i.e., sequesters) through binding (i.e., chelating) trace metal ions preventing rancidity, discoloration, or crystal development. EDTA is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, and there has been no research suggesting otherwise in the quantities found in food and drink.

GUAR GUM - a fine powder obtained by grinding guar seeds, a plant of the pea family, which is grown as a vegetable crop, native to dry regions of Africa and Asia. It is used as a thickener and a binder.

HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) - a sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase (enzyme) to convert some of its glucose into fructose. HFCS has gained a bad reputation in the past decade or so when experts noted that obesity skyrocketed at the same time HFCS consumption increased. The theory was that many people were metabolizing HFCS differently than other forms of sugar and that it was raising the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. However, most experts now regard HFCS to be no different than other forms of sugar and blame the controversy on the fact that too much sugar in general had started being added to too many foods at the same time HFCS was introduced.

HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN - soy proteins that have been broken down into the component amino acids by boiling. It is used as a flavor enhancer.

MALTODEXTRIN - an easily digestible carbohydrate made from rice, corn, or potato starch. It's made by cooking down the starch. it is used in foods as a thickener or a filler. Maltodextrin is usually made from starch from rice, corn, or potato, but is sometimes made from wheat starch. If maltodextrin is made from wheat, food labels will indicate that fact to protect people who are allergic to wheat. It’s generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. There’s currently no evidence to suggest it’s dangerous to consume in the amounts found in food and drink products.

MODIFIED FOOD STARCH - starch that has been altered to improve its thickening properties. Before the starch is modified, it is separated from the protein through isolation techniques; therefore, the source of the starch used is not required on the label. Modified starches are used in food products to improve their consistency and texture. It’s generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the FDA. There’s currently no evidence to suggest it’s dangerous to consume in the amounts found in food and drink products.

NATURAL HICKORY SMOKE - smoke from burning hickory is captured, condensed, filtered, and mixed with water.

POLYSORBATE 80 - derived from polyethoxylated sorbitan and oleic acid and used as an emulsifier to help keep pickles firm

SODIUM ALGINATE - a natural polysaccharide product extracted from brown seaweed that grows in cold water regions. It is soluble in cold and hot water with strong agitation and can thicken and bind.

SODIUM BENZOATE - a salt of Benzoic Acid, found naturally in cranberries, prunes, plums, cinnamon, ripe cloves, and apples and used as a preservative to prevent bacteria and fungi from developing in food.

XANTHAN GUM - also called corn sugar gum, a sugar-like substance that is made by fermenting carbohydrates with a bacterium. It is then derived from a solution using isopropyl alcohol, dried, and ground into a fine powder. It is commonly used as a food thickening agent in foods.