Gum Guru Blog

A systems approach to formulating for sugar reduction

With the spotlight on health and wellness across the food and beverage industry, sugar reduction remains a hot topic. This is one food trend that is both popular with consumers and supported by government initiatives and regulations. As regulatory actions, including additional taxes or special labeling, related to excess sugar in food and beverages increase, combined with general consumer concern regarding sugar intake, the food and beverage industry is responding.

reduced sugar beverages flavored water

Consumers continue to demand products with reduced sugar levels

Product launch data from the Innova Database shows clear trends in sugar reduction claims such as sugar-free, low sugar and no sugar added over the last ten years.

In the US, the overall food and beverage industry has been reliably launching products with a strong compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4%.

During this same timeframe, product launches with a sugar claim have been outpacing the general launch numbers, with a CAGR of 8.4% - indicating that sugar claims hold some additional value.

market data sugar reduction product launches

Meeting Customer Expectations about Food Texture

Consumers consider texture whenever they eat or drink, they just may not realize it. For example, they may categorize a beverage as “refreshing” but not necessarily break down the drinking experience into textural attributes such as low mouth coating, high mouth clearing and low cohesiveness. They instead may focus on attributes that have more common consumer terms such as those associated with the flavor, sweetener systems and carbonation.

When a new product enters a marketplace where a product with a recognizable texture already exists, the new product must have a texture that is either similar to the existing product or innovative enough to provide market distinction in the eyes of the consumer. This same concept can certainly be applied to the reduction or removal of sugar because of sugar’s functionalities beyond providing sweetness profile.

Sugar Provides More than Just Sweetness to Beverages

Reformulating full sugar products for sugar reduction or elimination can pose a number of challenges. Replacing sugar with natural or artificial sweeteners not only affects sweetness perception but also affects the body, mouthfeel and viscosity of beverages.

Role of Sugar in Beverages  
Functionality Flavor Attributes 
Body Flavor Profile 
Mouth Coating Flavor Release

Often more than one ingredient must be used to mimic all the functionalities sugar contributes to a beverage. Food and beverage developers often make use of sweeteners to achieve the ideal taste and texturizers to help build body and mouthfeel. The addition of one or more gums can replicate a recognizable full-sugar mouthfeel, while minimally impacting the consumer experience.

market data reduced sugar claim hydrocolloids

Clear Communication Speeds to Development

In order to have more effective communication during the product development process, we have compiled a lexicon of terms called the Food Texture Terminology to standardize the way product texture is described. This allows our food scientists to deconstruct terms like “creamy” into individual texture attributes such as mouth coating, cohesiveness and mixes with saliva to help determine the specific attributes most important to our customers. With these individual attributes defined, we can pinpoint the best product and the perfect use level to create or enhance what is desired.

Defining the texture target early in product development can speed up the process. Texture terms including mouth coating, viscosity and astringency are often considered when formulating for reduced sugar beverages.

Texture Terms in Sugar Reduction Applications
Attribute Description  Examples (low/high) 
Mouth Coating Degree to which mouth surfaces are coated after swallowing or expectorating water dessert gel vs creamy peanut butter
Viscosity Rate of flow per unit force: the force to draw between lips from spoon, and the rate of flow across tongue water vs sweetened condensed milk
Astringency The feeling on the tongue or other skin surfaces of the oral cavity described as puckering/dry and associated with tannins or alum yellow American cheese vs strong brewed tea

Market Data Supports Acceptability of Hydrocolloids for Sugar Replacement

Even though consumers are more critical of the ingredients on food labels than ever before, the same data that shows overall product launches have steadily increased. Products with a sugar claim that contain a hydrocolloid have been growing at an incredible 10.2%.

Systems Approach to Sugar Reduction

Determining the proper levels of sweetener and hydrocolloid necessary to replace the functionality of sugar in a beverage can be time-consuming and complicated. The Gum Gurus designed Simplistica™ BV 0358 ingredient system to target challenges associated with formulating for sugar reduction or elimination. The ingredient system is an optimized combination of a single ingredient hydrocolloid and a natural sweetener.

The texture component is derived from acacia sap and reclaims mouthfeel, body and texture that can be lost due to sugar replacement. Acacia provides excellent film-forming properties, which contributes to texture and mouthfeel in reduced-sugar applications. Additionally, TIC Gums offers Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA organic acacia products which are perfect for someone looking to create a product that aligns with the current clean label movement.

The sweetener component is made from stevia leaf steviol glycosides. This high-purity, next generation stevia sweetener has significantly less bitterness and aftertaste than conventional stevia sweeteners.

Sensory Test Confirms Simplistica™ BV 0358

Descriptive sensory analysis was used to confirm the suitability of Simplistic BV 0358 ingredient system in a reduced sugar beverage. Overall, the sensory profile of the flavored water beverage using Simplistica™ BV 0358 with 50% reduced sugar resulted in a sensory match to the full sugar control.

sensory profile reduced sugar beverage

Systems from TIC Gums: more than just ingredient functionality

Simplistica ingredient systems take the guess work out of reformulating. Our Gum Gurus work to create ingredient systems at the perfect ratio, so food and beverage developers are able to forego traditional troubleshooting that delays their speed to market.

By utilizing a fully functional ingredient system from TIC Gums, formulators are able to make use of the expertise of the Gum Gurus and reduce the challenges commonly associated with creating free-from formulations that deliver an enjoyable eating or drinking experience.

Learn more about formulating reduced sugar beverages with Simplistica BV 0358

Call on the Gum Gurus®

Our Gum Gurus are available to help you formulate for functionality or specific label claim goals, including reduced sugar, organic, and non-GMO. To speak with a Gum Guru about your specific texture, stability and nutrition needs, call our technical service hotline at hotline +1-800-899-3953 / +1-410-273-7300 or chat live online.

TIC Times newsletter March 2019The TIC Times newsletter is your source for the latest news on food texture & stability.

In this issue:

Natural Products Expo Review

Brian Briggs: Partnering for Success in 2019

Sugar Reduction: Flavored Water

New Non-GMO Project Verified Gums & Stabilizers

Subscribe to the TIC Times newsletter and we'll deliver it right to your inbox

from Brian Briggs, President, TIC Gums

Brian Briggs, President, TIC GumsAs we settle into 2019, the pace of innovation within the food and beverage industry continues at a rate few have seen before, presenting new opportunities for growth in product development.

Those new opportunities, however, can also bring challenges, leaving formulators looking for partners who can help them capitalize on these changes and consumer needs.

Count on TIC Gums for Solutions

2019 also marks TIC Gums’ 110th year of working closely with the innovators in our industry. With so many years under our belt, we are well positioned to understand emerging trends and help food and beverage developers successfully navigate through the opportunities and challenges these trends present.

It can be difficult to foresee the many effects that processing, ingredient selection and other elements of formulating will have on an end product. Our team of Gum Gurus® works with our customers to guide their formulation process, taking into consideration the various factors necessary to ensure a stable, reproducible product.


Consumer demand for non-GMO instant beverages has been continuing to increase over the last several years due to health and wellness trends. When formulating instant protein drinks, there are questions that most formulators are left wondering.

The Gum Gurus® are here to make formulating simple for you.

The first question we have is…

Question: Why am I detecting grittiness in my instant protein beverage?

Answer: There is protein in the beverage that is insoluble and detectable on the tongue upon drinking. When you add hydrocolloids like gums you can mask this grit by coating the tongue and decreasing the awareness of particulates. Learn more in this white paper: Label Friendly Stabilizers for Powdered Protein Beverages

This next question is one of our more popular ones…

Question: What should I use to enhance suspension in my instant protein sports powders?

Answer: Xanthan is the only cold-water soluble gum that can suspend particulates, which is great because gums in instant protein beverages must be able to activate without heat. It hydrates relatively quickly and reaches its full potential faster than other gums. This is important because it means consumers don’t have to wait to enjoy the beverage and the consistency will stay the same even after sitting for periods of time.

When formulating your instant protein beverage, you want to be aware of suspension, but also of viscosity and texture. Often, we get asked...

Question: Is there something I can use in my instant protein sports powdered beverage to enhance viscosity and texture?

Answer: Like we discussed, you can use xanthan to contribute to viscosity and texture. Depending on the mouthfeel you’re trying to achieve, you could also use Guar, Cellulose and Carrageenan. With the addition of Acacia you can also enhance overall mouthfeel.

If you’re already working with gums, you may ask...

Question: How does the usage rate of the gums change my product?

Answer: It should be noted that the usage rates for gums are low, which means they are very functional ingredients to add to your product. When adding Guar, cellulose, carrageenan or xanthan it can take trial and error to find the perfect usage rate for your ideal mouthfeel, that’s why we recommend calling a Gum Guru because we can make recommendations to pinpoint the perfect usage rate to add to your product.

Or you might also be wondering

Question: Should I use a shaker bottle or blender for evaluation of instant protein beverages?

Answer: Either works perfectly fine. But consumers would most likely use a shaker bottle like this one when using your product, so keep in mind how consumers may be using them once they’re available.

If you’re working on formulating products that are meeting consumer demand, that’s not a problem. Since the increase in consumer awareness of non-GMO label claims most formulators are asking...

Question: Can I use gums in my instant powdered protein drink and have non-GMO label claims?

Answer: Yes! TIC Gums has gums and gum systems that meet non-GMO claims, but also provides gums that are non-GMO Project Verified and organic compliant.

Have other questions that we didn’t get to? Don’t worry, we’re here to help!

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.

Download the white paper: Label Friendly Stabilizers for Powdered Protein Beverages

Because xanthan gum is an exopolysaccharide from the organism Xanthamonas campestris and is alcohol precipitated to make the finished powdered form – it cannot be manufactured as 100% organic. However, we offer Ticaxan® Xanthan NGMO which can be used in finished products bearing the 95% organic ingredient label. 

download the xanthan origin infographic

Non GMO Project Verified logo

Non-GMO Project Verified Xanthan Available

To help food manufacturers meet the growing consumer demand for clean label ingredients, we also carry three grades of Non-GMO Project Verified Xanthan:

View a full list of all the products in our portfolio of Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients.

To talk with a Gum Guru® about your specific texture and stability needs, call our technical support hotline at +1-800-899-3953 / +1-410-273-7300 or chat online.


Article: Which gums should I use in my organic foods?

Documentation on Organic Compliant Ingredients, Natural Status, and Non-GMO Products

Gum Reference Chart