- Ingredion is adding single hydrocolloid texturizers — including gum acacia, cellulose gum and tara gum — to its portfolio of offerings, according to Food Ingredients First.
- The company said that these molecules aid in texture stability, emulsification and protein protection, but are particularly effective in replacing sugar. The replacement of certain ingredients with these texturizers can also optimize costs without affecting eating quality or visual appeal.
- "Combining our global reformulation expertise with a diverse range of highly functional gums and starches, we can help food producers meet the needs of the health conscious, convenience shopper," Charlotte Commarmond, senior director of marketing and innovation at Ingredion, told Food Ingredients First.
On-the-go food is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. As a result of this growing demand for shelf-stable and ready-to-eat options, not only have manufacturers, restaurants and grocery retailers had to develop competitive on-the-go offerings, but there has also been increased demand for ingredients that can maintain the appearance and texture of these products.
At the same time that consumers want more convenient food, their desire for better-for-you foods is increasing. Often times, "better-for-you" translates to less sugar and fat, as well as more protein and pronounceable ingredients. To meet these demands in a shelf-stable environment, many companies have to rely on ingredients to mimic the natural texture of foods. Jorgen Kokke, Ingredion's North American president, previously told Food Dive there has been a 91% increase of on-pack texture claims during the past five years.
Texturizers are so important to food manufacturers, they represent about 25% of the entire food ingredients space, worth about $40 billion. Seeing the potential for growth, Ingredion acquired Sun Flour Industry Co. in 2016, a rice starch and flour business based in Thailand, and TIC Gums, a manufacturer of texturizers and gums, for $400 million. Three years later they are continuing to expand their portfolio through the addition of Pre-Hydrated Gum Arabic Spray Dry Powder, TIC Gum Arabic FT Powder, Ticalose CMC 400 Granular Powder and TIC Tara Gum 100.
Although scientifically advanced, consumers may not be as enthusiastic about the addition of these single hydrocolloid texturizers to their products. Whole Foods, for instance, limits the addition of certain texturizers in products that it carries due to concerns about artificiality.
With such a mixed bag before them, Ingredion may run into challenges persuading some consumers to accept their engineered texturizers as alternatives for less desirable ingredients like sugar and fat, even though items like gum acacia are natural ingredients with straightforward names, but come from things consumers don't think about eating.
For companies that are reformulating beloved products or launching new brands with more of a health halo, opting for a texturizer to make up for less desirable ingredients may be an optimal choice.