Selecting the proper emulsifier for a flavor or cloud emulsion can be a delicate balancing act. Each emulsion is as unique as the company that creates it and the stability of the finished emulsion is determined by many variables. The level of oil used, the density of the oil, choice of weighting agent, concentration of dye, and the storage conditions of the emulsion or finished beverage all contribute to the its stability.

Emulsion Basics

An emulsion is the system that results from the mixing of two immiscible or partially miscible liquids called the phases of the emulsion, and one or more emulsifiers in the proper ratio so that one phase becomes dispersed in the other in the form of globules. Usually, one of the phases is aqueous—the so-called “water phase”—and the other is an oil in the wide sense. Emulsion nomenclature places the dispersed phase first: when the dispersed phase is water and the continuous phase is oil, the emulsion is called a water-in-oil (W/O) emulsion; when the dispersed phase is oil and the continuous phase is water, such as a beverage emulsion, it is called oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion.

Emulsions tend to be naturally unstable because of differences in the specific gravity of the two phases and variation in the size of the oil droplets. Formulators increase emulsion stability by incorporating emulsifiers and weighting agents. Traditional emulsifiers include Gum Arabic and modified food starch while our Ticamulsion® modified gum acacia is suitable for emulsions with higher oil loading levels. Weighting agents such as Pinova™ Ester Gum can also be used to balance the densities of the liquids in the emulsion and reduce the opportunity for failure.

Whatever its components, the mixture is then homogenized to create smaller, more uniform particle sizes since smaller particles are more stable. Download emulsion white paper

Talk with a Gum Guru

Our most popular emulsifiers are listed below. Click the product name to learn more or order a sample. If you would like to talk with a Gum Guru about your particular beverage emulsion stability needs, call our technical service hotline at +1-800-899-3953 / +1-410-273-7300 or chat live online.