Gum Guru Blog

What makes a person crave a plate of Alfredo pasta, or a cup of macaroni and cheese on a cold winter day? It is all in the sauce – the rich, dairy-based sauce that is key to making the perfect comfort food. Consumers may describe this indulgent texture as “creamy” or “thick” and the Gum Gurus at TIC Gums developed Food Texture Terminology to create a more concrete description of the attributes of an ideal cheese sauce.

Describing the Texture of Cheese Sauce
Texture Attribute Definition Examples (Low/High)
Surface Wetting Degree with which sample spreads out and visually adheres to surface of container  water vs corn syrup
Mouth Coating Degree to which mouth surfaces are coated after swallowing or expectorating  water dessert gel vs creamy peanut butter
Mouth Clearing The speed with which the sample clears from the mouth after swallowing or expectorating  creamy peanut butter vs water

In order to obtain these ideal attributes in cheese-based sauce, the major focus lies on the stabilization of the emulsion between the cheese or oil and the water in the formulation. Emulsification prevents separation of the sauce mixture, a defect that consumers may describe as “separated” or “watery” and consider unappealing.

Some gums are natural emulsifiers, as they contain both hydrophilic and hydrophobic portions that have the ability to stabilize and keep the lipid phase dispersed evenly throughout the water phase, while other gums contribute similar functionality by stabilizing the formulation

“How will gums work together to improve the texture of my cheese sauce?”

In sauce, gums have the ability to enhance the characteristic texture of cheese (high mouth coating ability, slow mouth clearing and increased surface wetting) in addition to preventing separation. Our Gum Gurus recommend the following gum systems that contain tested ratios formulated for specific applications in dairy-based sauces:


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

In this issue:

New Formulation Possibilities with Flavor Free Guar Gum

Briggs: Showcasing Ingredients That Meet Food Industry Challenges at IFT 2017

Video: Controlling Age Gelation in UHT Dairy Beverages

Download: Guar Gum FSMA infographic

Subscribe to the TIC Times newsletter and we'll deliver it right to your email box! 


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. 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 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 a label-friendly ingredient.

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


Brian Briggs, TIC Gums presidentAnother IFT event has come and gone and the 2017 session was the best ever for TIC Gums thanks to you, our customers! While Las Vegas was incredibly hot, the venue hosted nearly 20,000 people for the show, and it was a great success. (If you weren't able to attend the show, you can still visit our virtual booth.)

We were able to showcase many of the new solutions our team has been working diligently on to help our customers overcome challenges and grow their businesses.

Guar Gum with an Improved Flavor Profile

Among the solutions we highlighted was flavor free guar gum. Our customers had brought forth the challenges and limitations in using higher levels of guar in their end applications due to the beany notes that creep in as usage levels increase and this new product, named GuarNT® USA Flavor Free 5000, helps address those challenges. Over a number of years, TIC Gums has developed and implemented unique technology and processes which allow us to deliver guar, which, supported by sensory testing, is essentially flavor free. With this solution we are working with customers who are seeing cost-in-use savings by increasing the usage levels of guar and lowering the usage of more expensive gums and flavorings. Others are using the flavor free guar to increase the impact of the flavoring they have in their end application. TIC Gums continues to develop additional end-application uses for this technology, and would be thrilled to earn your business if you have a project where this could be beneficial.


Videos in the Common Issues with RTD Beverages Series


From 2007-2016 we’ve seen an almost 500% growth in dairy ready to drink (RTD) beverage launches.

But there are a few problems hindering continued growth.

Here’s one of them.

Age Gelation. After a few short months, the liquid gels into a mass that cannot be returned to its liquid state.

age gelation uht beverages

What causes age gelation?

Many RTD beverages use UHT processing. During this process it’s believed that the milk proteins likely form links to one another which later results in gelation.

Ticaloid® Pro 192 AGD is an excellent way to suppress age gelation in these shelf-stable beverages thereby increasing the product’s shelf life. This will also help to stabilize beverages with high protein and increased nutritional oil.

control age gelation with Ticaloid PRO 192 AGD

Select a stabilizer the suppresses gel formation

Ticaloid PRO 192 AGD suppresses age gelation, stabilizes dairy-based protein beverages, provides clean label options and is an alternative to typical stabilizers.

So don’t be hindered by age gelation.

Address age gelation issues by talking to a Gum Guru today about your specific application. Call our technical support hotline +1-800-899-3953 / +1-410-273-7300 or chat live online.

RTD Dairy Beverage Tech Sheet Download