Clean label-friendly GuarNT® USA Flavor Free 5000 also boasts clean flavor profile

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I am looking to remove xanthan gum from my application to align with the “no ‘x’” trend within the clean label movement. What are my options for a stabilizer that won’t mask the flavor of my finished product?

I’m using guar gum in my ice pop but I can still taste the guar. What can I do to clean up the flavor profile?

We’re trying to match a refrigerated cheese sauce that lists guar and xanthan but we’re having trouble with the off flavor of the guar.

We want to use guar gum to thicken our instant oatmeal because it meets our clean label objectives but we need a guar gum that hydrates fast in water and doesn’t impact the taste or flavor of the instant oatmeal.

These are just a few of the questions our Gum Gurus® have fielded recently. While the finished food may vary these questions have at least one thing in common: Whether the caller was asking about ice pops or instant oatmeal, the challenge involved the typical flavor profile of guar gum.

First, what is guar gum?

Guar gum is a low cost all-purpose thickener derived from the endosperm of the plant Cyamopsis tetragonoloba that grows in India and Pakistan. Since this gum comes from a seed, it is widely accepted as clean label.

Guar gum can be used alone or in combination with other gums to change the texture or stabilize a range of foods and beverages. It is often used to prevent ice crystal formation in soft serve ice cream, thicken and add mouthfeel in sauces and dressings or prevent runny instant oatmeal.

Unfortunately for formulators, standard guar gum has a grassy, earthy smell and a beany, green flavor that can interfere with the sensory characteristics of foods with more delicate flavors.

What creates the off-flavor in guar gum?

Using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis, several volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were identified as contributors to the flavor and odor of standard guar gum. Hexanal and hexanoic acid were identified as the main sources of the green, grassy off odor and flavor associated with guar.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Contributing to Typical Guar Odor and Flavor
VOC Flavor Profile
Hexanal Grassy flavor
Hexanoic Acid Fatty/cheesy/waxy odor
Pentanal Penetrating, acrid-pungent
Heptanal Grassy unripe fruit odors
Octanal Fruit-like odor
Nonanal Fruity or floral odor

How do you get rid of the off-notes?

TIC Gums developed GuarNT® USA Flavor Free 5000 to enable formulators to use guar gum in more of their applications without concerns over flavor masking.

The proprietary manufacturing process for GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000 significantly reduces the VOC levels present in the finished product. Comparing GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000 to standard guar powder, the hexanal concentration and the total measured VOCs were reduced by nearly 90%.

Reduced VOC with GuarNT Flavor Free

Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Reduction
VOC Standard Guar (ppb) GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000 (ppb)
Hexanal 729 80
Hexanoic Acid 892 22
Pentanal 137 0
Heptanal 77 9
Octanal 150 11
Nonanal 157 53
Total Measured VOC 2,142 175

Can you really tell a difference in sensory characteristics?

A further study by a panel of sensory professionals confirmed the typical beany odor and flavor prominent in standard guar gum was not detectable in GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000.

Solutions of various concentrations of guar gum were evaluated by a trained sensory panel to determine the off note characteristics of standard Guar gum and GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000. The specific attribute noted/tested was beany flavor as this is most prominent and recognizable for guar gum.

Panelists determined that standard guar gum has detectable notes at both low and high concentrations. In comparison, beany flavor was not detected in GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000 solution at the higher concentration by a panel of trained sensory experts. The following charts display significant differences in fresh beany aroma intensity and flavor at a p-value of less than 0.05.

Reduction in beany flavor

With its clean flavor profile, GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000 can be used in a myriad of applications at usage levels that were previously not possible. Below are just a few of the examples:

Application-specific Comparison of GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000 vs standard guar gum

  • Butter/Shortbread Cookie–Butter flavor was more prevalent and distinguishable 
  • Freezer pop–Improved flavor release of the mango flavor and an increase in overall sweetness
  • Oatmeal–Oat flavor more apparent in plain oatmeal formula
  • Vanilla ice cream–Higher level of vanilla flavor and aroma detection

Flavor Free Guar Gum

Will GuarNT USA Flavor Free 5000 help the flavor profile of your application?

To talk with a Gum Guru about your specific application, call our technical support hotline +1-800-899-3953 / +1-410-273-7300 or chat live online.

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