In this latest episode of the Basics of Food Gums video series, we look at food and beverage emulsions.

 

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So in this episode, we’re going to continue exploring the science behind the uses of food gums and the innovations that have proven to be most beneficial. If you missed any of our previous videos explaining the different categories of food gums, we encourage you to click the link in the description here or follow the link on the screen to check them out.

When discussing certain food and beverage products, we have to consider the importance of emulsions. ¬In basic terms, an emulsion is having two liquids that do not mix and successfully dispersing one liquid into the other resulting in a stable mixture that does not separate. Emulsions can be oil-in-water, like salad dressing, where small oil droplets are dispersed into water, or water-in-oil, like butter, where small water droplets are dispersed throughout oil. In order to accomplish these mixtures, we need an emulsifier. An emulsifier is the substance that decreases the tension between the particles of each liquid allowing them to mix successfully. Emulsifiers work by having properties that are both water-like, referred to as hydrophilic, and oil-like, referred to as hydrophobic. Hydrocolloids have incredible emulsifying characteristics and have been the go-to emulsifiers for many years.

When thinking about products that are emulsions, some great examples are: mayonnaise, whipped cream, ice cream, salad dressings, and even some beverages; the list is actually quite extensive. Many of the flavors used in beverages are actually oil-based, like those used in fountain soda or in a bottling plant. Emulsifiers like the popular gum Arabic, also known as gum acacia, are used to stabilize the mixture of flavor oil and water allowing for the manufacturing of concentrates that are then sent out to facilities for final dilution into beverages. Hydrocolloid emulsifiers like gum arabic provide incredible emulsion stability and enhanced mouthfeel to products. And even as efficient as they are, they certainly have limitations; one of the largest being oil load capacity. Simply put, when the amount of oil used in the mixture exceeds a certain percentage it surpasses the ability of the emulsifier to maintain the proper dispersion and the emulsion will become unstable. So even with the excellent emulsifying properties that come from hydrocolloids, there are still limits which hinder further innovation in the world of emulsions.

So what can we do in the face of these limitations? One way is to go back to the emulsifier itself and see if there’s any way to transform or modify it to perform better. We at TIC Gums have in our portfolio a product called TICAmulsion which is modified gum arabic. There are several different ways to modify a particular ingredient, one of them being chemically. This is the case with TICAmulsion which is gum arabic modified chemically by octenyl succinic acid. This process results in the addition of a hydrophobic, or oil-like, tail on the native gum Arabic molecule causing a dramatic increase in its emulsifying potential. This superior stabilizer is not only able to handle up to 100-percent more oil in a traditional emulsion but it opens the door for new products containing higher concentrations of nutritionally fortifying ingredients. Also, there’s a cost-in-use savings that occurs because you can use less of the emulsifier TICAmulsion to emulsify the same or more oil than with traditional emulsifiers. And on top of that this product has been approved for use not only in the US but Europe as well. In many ways TICAmulsion has proven that there is more we can do to push the texture and stabilization in food and beverages to the next level.

Hopefully this video provided a great introduction to emulsions, emulsifiers and the significant value that modified gum arabic brings to food product manufacturing. Hydrocolloids are indispensable ingredients and this innovative technology in particular is definitely worth talking about.

If you’re interested in greater efficiencies for food products, please contact one of our Gum Gurus who can provide insight as to how hydrocolloids can provide innovation, texture and stabilization for your product. Thanks for watching.

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Resources

Stabilizers for Food & Beverage Emulsions

Whitepaper: Ticamulsion® for Advanced High Oil Load Emulsions

emulsion video