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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 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. 

emulsion stabilizers and weighting agents

Functions of gums & stabilizers in emulsions

  • Stabilize emulsion
  • Increase viscosity
  • Minimize dilution of emulsion

Questions a Gum Guru might ask when recommending an emulsifier

  • What are your label claim goals?
  • What functionality are you looking to achieve?
  • What is the pH of your beverage emulsion?
  • Are you adding oils or resins?
  • What is your oil load?
  • Can you describe your shear step?

Limitations of traditional emulsifiers

While gum acacia has been the gold standard in emulsifying flavors, colors, and beverages, there are certain types of formulations that are outside the capabilities of gum acacia or other commercially available stabilizers.

  • Oil loading capacity—Most commercially available emulsifiers are able to stabilize oil levels up to 8-12%.
  • Increased viscosity profiles-- While increasing the level of emulsifier in the formulation may help improve stability, those higher levels often increase viscosity, causing issues in processing.
  • Overall emulsion stability—Emulsion manufacturers can't risk shipping a product that breaks prematurely so they've been had to formulate within the limitations of the current emulsifiers.

Identifying the need for more emulsifier choices

As we worked with emulsion manufacturers, we saw the need for new emulsifier options in the food and beverage market and, over a decade ago, we introduced our Ticamulsion® line of modified gum acacia products. Based on patented technology that improves on the natural emulsifying capabilities of gum acacia, Ticamulsion 3020 is a second generation innovation suitable for formulations that weren't previously possible with traditional emulsifiers, including emulsions created with nutritional oils or containing oil levels above 20%.

Benefits of Ticamulsion 3020

  • Stabilize high oil load emulsions of flavors, colors and cloud without building excess viscosity
  • Expand product development opportunities through increased efficiencies
  • Satisfy "Non-GMO" classification in accordance with the European Commission labeling requirements
  • Provide cost-in-use savings throughout production, packaging and shipping
  • In some cases, create stable emulsions without weighting agents

Learn more about Ticamulsion 3020 by downloading this white paper: Ticamulsion for Advanced High Oil Load Emulsions

Products

  • Product
    Application
    Usage Level
    Features
  • Beverages, Emulsions
    Max 100 ppm in finished beverage
    Acts as an effective weighting agent for adjusting the density of citrus oils in beverage concentrates
  • Beverages, Emulsions
    1.5 to 1 gum/oil phase ratio
    Provides emulsification in flavor concentrates
  • Beverages, Emulsions
    1.5 to 1 gum/oil phase ratio
    Provides emulsification properties for flavor and beverage concentrates
  • Beverages, Emulsions
    11-15%
    Patented technology that emulsifies oils at concentrations of 20% or higher
  • Beverages, Emulsions
    15% gum to 20% or more oil
    Provides stability in beverage and flavor emulsions containing 20% or more oil
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