Meeting the Need for Food Gum Education
From the March 2015 TIC Times newsletter read more
What are gums’ biggest weakness? I have long believed it is their names. Xanthan, guar and locust bean, to name a few, just aren’t familiar to most end-consumers. No matter their purpose in a product or positive benefits they may have, their names get in the way.
In my opinion, gums are simply incredible. Most are plant based (seeds, seaweeds, exudates, roots) and provide outsized performance to stabilize foods through their shelf life. They are responsible for suspension, emulsification, thickening and stabilization…it’s difficult to hold a food together through its shelf life without a gum or two. Many nutritional products use gums specifically to add fiber. While used at very low usage levels in the finished product, they are typically 80 – 90% soluble fiber, and in many cases, certified 100% organic.
Gathering Accurate Information
So, why aren’t gums universally celebrated on label declarations? Many have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. In addition to their unfamiliar names, I believe it’s because the end-consumer doesn’t really know what they are, where they come from or the purpose they serve in their food. What little information that is available online can be confusing or misleading. Ingredients which are not widely known can be an easy target for anti-processed food discussions among those who do not fully understand the ingredients.
For as long as I can remember, gum manufacturers have lamented the gap between their products’ reality and perception but have done nothing to close the gap. As the leader in our industry, we are taking action in the form of a set of videos called the Basics of Food Gums. Unlike other technical and marketing efforts, the purpose of this new series is not to promote any particular product from TIC Gums. It is to educate the end consumer on what gums are, where they come from and why they are used – I believe this is an initiative that will benefit the industry as a whole.
Responding to Current Trends
The Basics of Food Gums also supports the “clear label” trend for transparency about what is in consumers’ food and where it is sourced. The videos are aimed to help make gums more approachable, recognizable and familiar to those who see them on food labels. Our hope is that these videos become a tool to help our customers, food manufacturers and developers, answer the questions and concerns of their customers. Click here to watch the series