We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Types of Food Preservatives?

By Brandon May
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There is a wide variety of food preservatives used by cooks and food manufacturers to extend shelf life and improve storage of both cooked and raw foods. Many natural preservatives, like salt and sugar, are often used in preserving canned fruits, processed meats as well as various types of canned or jarred vegetables. Nitrates and nitrites are common artificial preservatives found in many processed meats, including lunch meat and bacon, and are made from naturally occurring sodium chloride found in table salt. Antioxidants also play a role in preserving fresh and processed foods, as do proper at home preservation methods like freezing, pickling or jarring foods.

Food manufacturers use an array of food preservatives to keep food fresh and stable, as well as to extend shelf life and prevent natural decay. One of the most common food preservatives is salt, suitable for many uses such as preserving meat, canned vegetables and fruits, as well as frozen desserts and vegetables. Salt is one of the most popular food preservative used at home for preserving raw meat, as salt helps draw out moisture from the meat through a process called osmosis. This is often called curing the meat and is one of the oldest food preservation methods known.

Artificial preservatives called sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are often used in processed meats and are derivatives of the natural sodium found in regular table salt. Sodium nitrates and nitrites are commonly found as food preservatives in luncheon meats, bacon and ham, and can sometimes be found in processed ground beef. Sugar is also one of the common food preservatives, often used to extend the shelf life of desserts and sweet food items, such as canned fruit or candy. Sometimes natural sugar is replaced by high fructose corn syrup in many processed foods, to act as a less expensive sweetener and preservative.

Synthetic antioxidants, such as butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene, are added to some foods to extend shelf life by fighting oxygen damage to the food. Most synthetic food preservatives do contain some controversy about their health effects, yet the science remains unclear as to the precise effect small amounts have on human health. Natural food preservation methods, such as freezing or drying, are very popular for individuals preparing food at home. Canning and pickling foods with vinegar and salt are also excellent preservation methods used to extend the shelf life of any raw or cooked food.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By burcidi — On May 28, 2013

@alisha-- Oils, spices, syrups like honey as well as vinegar and garlic are all natural preservatives. For olives, you could use salt, spices, oil or vinegar easily.

I think spices are some of the oldest food preservatives ever used. Spice was the main food preservative used to preserve and store meats and is still used to make traditional style sausages in many countries. I had the most delicious veal sausage in Germany that was preserved naturally with spices.

By discographer — On May 27, 2013

Are there natural preservatives other than salt and sugar?

I'm looking for a natural way to preserve raw olives.

By candyquilt — On May 27, 2013

Artificial and synthetic food preservatives are unhealthy. When I was pregnant, my doctor told me not to eat any lunch meat during my pregnancy because of the nitrates. She said it could harm the baby.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.