Sauces create enjoyable and sometimes even memorable eating experiences for the consumer but it's difficult to develop a commercially prepared sauce that can withstand the rigors of manufacturing and distribution.

For product developers, each sauce formulation presents its own challenges. Fortunately, there are gums and stabilizers that can help you address many of those challenges. For example, gum blends can prevent syneresis and unsightly separation after a freeze-thaw cycle, and can work together to create the desired mouthfeel. In sauces where visual appeal is critical, gums aid in spice and particulate suspension and will give the sauce a made from scratch appearance. Because gums are used in very low amounts in the total sauce formulation, therefore have the ability to alter sauce viscosity without compromising flavor.

Functions of Gums & Stabilizers in Sauces

  • Increase thickness
  • Suspend particulates
  • Avoid phase separation
  • Provide freeze/thaw stability

barbeque sauce chicken

My sauce is clumping – how can I prevent this?

If you’re using a powdered gum such as xanthan, clumping can be an issue during manufacturing. The stubborn clumps generally occur because the gum begin to hydrate before dispersion is complete, leaving unsightly balls that have dry powder inside where the water couldn’t reach. These clumps, sometimes referred to as ‘fish-eyes,” can clog production equipment or cause incomplete gum hydration which can result in failed batches and rework.

In most cases, switching to an agglomerated gum like our Pre-Hydrated® or FASTir® products may be the easiest solution. These gums undergo special processing that expands the particle and creates crevices called interstices for the water to flow through. Pre-Hydrated Gums are then dried to retain this expanded structure.

Manufacturers that we work with see dramatic process improvements when they switch from powdered to agglomerated gums. Agglomeration makes it much easier to disperse the gum into solution, which will result in a smoother end product, quick thickening and uniformity.

Agglomerated Gums for Sauces & Dressings
Product Description
FASTir Xanthan EC Quick dissolution and thickening
Pre-Hydrated Ticaxan® Rapid-3 Powder Best dispersing xanthan gum, will give more cling and viscosity to a BBQ sauce
Pre-Hydrated Saladizer® 250 Powder Perfect for BBQ sauce and most other sauces, will help keep spices suspended and the wing sauce from separating out, no true emulsifier present but most often used for optimum “cling”
Pre-Hydrated® Action Gum 1144 Powder An excellent thickener and suspending aid that is virtually dust-free; synergy imparts viscosity and mouthfeel to a variety of sauces


Watch our video about agglomeration to learn more.

How do the other ingredients in my sauce potentially affect the functionality of the gums?

The presence of other ingredients in a sauce formulation affects the functionality of the hydrocolloids.

Ingredients such as lemon, vinegar and soy sauce reduce pH, which can hinder the development of viscosity and associated thickening properties of some gums. Added salt can have an unpredictable effect on gum functionality due to an increase in osmotic pressure in the system.

Adjusting your order of incorporation can also improve the efficiency of the gum in your formulation. Because gums must reach 50% hydration before they are "self-sufficient," giving the gum 5 to 10 minutes to hydrate in the tank before other ingredients are added makes a dramatic difference in the level of gum needed and in the functional properties it exhibits.

For these reasons, if you talk with one of our Gum Gurus about your sauce formulation, they will often ask for your formulation and specifications in order to make the best sample recommendation for your product.

Questions a Gum Guru May Ask When Recommending a Stabilizer

  • What are your label claim goals?
  • What functionality are you looking to achieve?
  • What temperature are you heating your sauce to?
  • What is the pH of your sauce?
  • Do you have any particulates that need suspension?
  • Is there any oil you need to emulsify?
  • What other ingredients are in your formulation?

Call on the Gum Gurus

Talk with a Gum Guru about your specific application by calling our technical support hotline +1-800-899-3953 / +1-410-273-7300 or chat live online.


  • Product
    Usage Level
  • Dressings & Sauces, Sauces
    Provides viscosity, suspension and moisture management; developed as a cost-effective stabilizer solution
  • Dressings & Sauces, Sauces
    Thickens and adds body; use to replace starches to allow for more delicate flavors to be detected
  • Dressings & Sauces, Sauces
    Stabilizes emulsions and suspends particulates by increasing viscosity; provides cling; ideal for a wide range of pH systems
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What Our Customers are Saying:

“Thank you very kindly for your help this morning. I learned more with you in a few minutes than I gleaned over the entire weekend of combing the internet. (You're awesome!) Looking forward to experimenting with the various gums."

Alex, after a recent chat with a Gum Guru