Price and supply instability has roiled the world of hydrocolloids, but creative solutions exist that meet bakery formulating needs. In this exclusive Q&A, Daniel Bailey. R&D scientist, Gum Technology Corp., Tucson, AZ, details alternatives to guar and xanthan gum and touches on the use of gums in gluten-free formulations.

Baking & Snack: What gums and hydrocolloid ingredients does Gum Technology offer for bakery and snack applications?

Daniel Bailey: As the cost and availability of guar gum remains uncertain, many formulators find themselves in need of a guar replacement stabilizer for their applications. Gum Technology has developed several guar replacement stabilizers that are aimed at restoring the specific functionality that guar has provided in so many cases.

For bakery and snack food applications that require freeze-thaw stability and moisture retention, we have developed our Hydro-Fi product line that utilizes a blend of hydrocolloids and citrus fiber. Specifically, our Hydro-Fi CXA-0823 (a blend of citrus fiber, xanthan gum and gum arabic) works well to retain moisture, provide batter viscosity and emulsion, and build good cell structure when baking. Our Hydro-Fi XCT-0123 (a blend of citrus fiber, xanthan gum, and tara gum) also provides viscosity and emulsion, and works very well to reduce Ice crystal size in the freezer. This helps to create a much more desirable product after it has been subjected to one or more freeze thaw cycles. Finally, we have developed our Hydro-Fi TC-1123 (a blend of citrus fiber and tara gum) that works well to provide strength in applications needing cell structure such as bread while also providing the pliability that is needed in products like tortillas.

While guar gum remains volatile, the market for xanthan gum is also now expected to see price increases. In order to ease the forecasted pressure on formulators who currently use xanthan gum, Gum Technology has developed several xanthan gum substitutes and more development is underway. One of our most recent developments as a xanthan replacement is our Coyote Brand Stabilizer CT-1201 (a blend of CMC cellulose gum and tara gum), which can be used in applications for viscosity building, moisture binding, particulate suspension, separation prevention and aeration in dry and wet applications such as sauces, baked goods and dips. It also maintains freeze-thaw stability in frozen novelties while providing a rich, creamy mouthfeel.

Another xanthan replacement that Gum Technology has recently developed is our Hydro-Fi CXA-1024. This all-natural blend of citrus fiber, xanthan gum and acacia gum has true, fortified emulsifying properties due to the incorporation of emulsion-grade acacia gum together with xanthan gum. Although there is xanthan gum in this system, the citrus fiber and acacia gum allow a cost reduction.

If one of these products does not meet or exceed a formulator’s needs in general, or as a xanthan/guar substitute, then our stabilizers can be tailored to provide the specific functionality and characteristics desired in a final product. Many formulators are looking for emulsion and thickening but often cannot find one product that does both of these jobs well. At Gum Technology, we formulate custom blends to provide all the required functionality in a single product.

Have there been recent developments in applications and trends involving bakery formulations?

Recently we have seen a significant rise in requests for stabilizers that can assist in gluten-free applications. Our lab has been working diligently to develop stabilizers that properly mimic the properties such as structure, viscosity, and bonding that the gluten protein provides in typical bakery and snack food applications. After extensive testing and analysis, our Coyote Brand GumPlete SXCT-GF-707 (a blend of functional flours, xanthan gum, citrus fiber and tara gum) was developed specifically for gluten-free applications such as brownies and muffins. This synergistic blend works well to mimic gluten bonds and provides the structure, texture and moisture retention that is often absent in gluten-free applications.

We’re all aware of the situation with guar, but are there other changes and trends formulators for formulators to consider?

In today’s ever-changing global supply chain, formulators are often challenged with price fluctuations and supply stability when sourcing ingredients. The current status quo reflects this complex market, and hydrocolloids are no exception. As the guar situation is now well understood to be in constant fluctuation, we are now seeing that other hydrocolloids such as xanthan and gelatin may also soon follow this trend. Given these irregular market conditions, Gum Technology is taking preemptive steps to develop replacement and substitute stabilizers that are often more functional than xanthan, guar or gelatin in their given applications.