KANSAS CITY — Various hydrocolloids, pro-vided supply and cost are not prohibitive, may assist in formulating foods and beverages that many consumers perceive as “clean label.” Other hydrocolloids, provided they may be added at a high enough level, provide fiber benefits.
Pectin fits the first example.
“Pectin remains the blue-eyed boy of clean label requirements because it has no negative connotations (with consumers),” said Dennis Seisun, founder of San Diego-based IMR International, a market research and consulting company that covers food hydrocolloids.
In applications, pectin’s use is growing in dairy and dairy alternative beverages, according to Atlanta-based CP Kelco, a hydrocolloids supplier. Geographically, pectin’s use is growing in emerging markets, according to the company.
However, poor crop years and bottlenecking problems at processing facilities have reduced pectin supply, which is sourced from citrus peel. Supply depends heavily on the citrus crop in Argentina.
“The crop was good, but not as good as expected and certainly not good enough to replenish the depleted inventory,” Mr. Seisun said of this year’s Argentine crop.
Pectin peel supply conditions will remain challenged and peel costs are expected to remain at elevated levels, according to CP Kelco, which has pectin production facilities in Europe and Brazil.
CP Kelco completed a pectin capacity expansion in Europe in 2014 and another in Brazil in 2015. Projects in Europe to improve supply chain efficiency should lead to additional capacity during 2017-18, according to the company. CP Kelco also is building a peel processing plant in Brazil that should become fully operational in 2017.
TIC Gums, White Marsh, Md., offers pectin alternatives. Pectin may be used to enhance the mouthfeel in beverages like ready-to-drink juices and teas. TIC gums evaluated several stabilizer combinations and found its Ticaloid 310 S, which is a blend of gums, most closely mimicked the texture normally provided by citrus pectin. Ticaloid 310 S may be used at levels ranging from 0.05% to 0.08% to replace standard high methoxyl rapid set pectin used at higher usage levels in juice and tea beverages, according to TIC Gums.
Cargill, Minneapolis, includes pectin in its hydrocolloid portfolio.
“We currently see no issues with the Cargill pectin supply,” said Drew Kleven, product line manager, functional systems and hydrocolloids, for Cargill. “Pectin is a highly functional and complex stabilizer that provides targeted performance in specific product markets. While there is no replacement for pectin’s robust functionality in these markets, we have the deep well of expertise and a broad toolbox to partner with our customers to create the best possible system in order to promote success.”
Pectin, citrus fiber, locust bean gum and xanthan gum all are derived from natural sources that provide unique and effective stabilizing properties, he said.
“Today’s food and beverage formulators are challenged to meet competing consumer needs: increasing demand for nutritious products with ‘clean’ labels, convenience and affordability, without sacrificing taste or appearance,” said Michele Cacdac-Jones, director of global communications for CP Kelco. “CP Kelco’s nature?based hydrocolloid ingredients provide formulators with the tools to create the sensory experience of sugar and fat, without compromising functionality. Our specialty ingredients enable formulators to create products tailored to the specific needs and tastes of different consumer groups.”
CP Kelco offers such products as Kelcogel gellan gum, Genu pectin, Keltrol xanthan gum, Cekol cellulose gum and Genu carrageenan to build body into reduced sugar and fat systems, suspend nutrients such as calcium and fiber in beverages like dairy alternative drinks, and stabilize proteins in yogurts, protein smoothies and acidic yogurt drinks, she said.
Fiber from acacia gum
Fiber may be a positive attribute for hydrocolloids in some instances.
“The problem with fiber content in hydrocolloids is that most of them are very effective at a very low use level,” Mr. Seisun said. “So though they may be fibers, they are used at such low use levels, they don’t really make any significant difference to the fiber content.”
Two exceptions are acacia gum, also known as gum Arabic, and enzyme-modified guar gum, he said. Acacia gum may be added to applications at levels close to 20% in some instances.
Importers Service Corp. offers acacia gum ingredients that are over 90% soluble dietary fiber as well as being non-bioengineered/non-G.M.O., gluten-free and allergen-free. FiberPlus380, a prebiotic fiber from I.S.C., has been shown to provide health benefits in such applications as beverages, nutritional bars, baked foods, dairy products and nutraceuticals.
In defense of carrageenan
Mr. Seisun is organizing the IMR International Food Hydrocolloid Conference 2017, titled ““Hydrocolloids: Safe, Sustainable and Suitable” and scheduled for April 30 to May 2, 2017, in San Diego. Some conversation there may focus on carrageenan, which has suffered from negative consumer perception but draws a strong defense from Mr. Seisun.
The Cornucopia Institute, Cornucopia, Wis., which supports sustainable and organic agriculture, has said studies link carrageenan to inflammation, cancer and diabetes. The carrageenan industry has disputed the studies.
Mr. Seisun said some anecdotal claims relate to people experiencing headaches and stomachaches after consuming products that contained carrageenan.
“To base the elimination of this ingredient, with 100 years of use, on a few anecdotal incidents is like me saying, ‘My son is allergic to fish food’ — which he is — ‘ let’s ban all fish food.’” he said.
Regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority, have testified to the safety of carrageenan, he said.
The National Organic Standards Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture voted to remove carrageenan from a National List of allowed substances in organic food on Nov. 17 in a meeting in St. Louis.
The U.S.D.A.’s National Organic Program allows for certain synthetic and non-synthetic substances that are not certified organic to be allowed in food labeled “organic” or “made with organic (specific ingredients or food group(s))” if the substances meet certain criteria, such as if the substances cannot be produced from a natural source and there are no organic substitutes. Such substances then appear on a National List. Carrageenan, a hydrocolloid sourced from red seaweed, was on the National List, but the National Organic Standards Board voted to remove it. A sub-committee review found carrageenan could come off the list because other alternatives were available. The review did not cite safety as a reason for removing carrageenan from the National List.
The sub-committee review of the National Organic Standards Board said for some uses, particularly in dairy products and non-dairy, milk-like beverages, suitable alternatives for carrageenan could be gellan gum, xanthan gum and guar gum, although there is a tendency for sediments to collect at the bottom when the beverages do not have carrageenan.