The structure of an ingredient is usually defined as the chemical and three dimensional configuration. Ingredients will interact with other ingredients in food products and based on these interactions food networks and structures are formed.

The structure of an ingredient defines its functionality in a food product, e.g. carbohydrates, lipids, food proteins, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. A chain of monosaccharides form a polymer to make a polysaccharide. Such polysaccharides include pectin, dextran, agar, and xanthan.

Lipids in food include the oils of such grains as corn, soybean, from animal fats, and are parts of many foods such as milk, cheese, and meat.

They also act as vitamin carriers. Protein can be obtained from animal sources: eggs, milk, and meat. Nuts, grains and legumes provide vegetable sources of protein, and protein combining of vegetable sources is used to achieve complete protein nutritional profiles from vegetables.