Gum Arabic substitute sidesteps rising ingredient costs

Wen-Juin Shieh
Technical Leader
Cargill Texturizing Solutions

If you use gum Arabic in your products, you know that prices reached record highs in 2011 and are nearly 40% higher than they were a year ago. The continuous appreciation of the US Dollar against the Sterling, Euro and other currencies is still causing increases in gum Arabic prices. And the continuing instability in top grower Sudan, coupled with natural variations in quality, is expected to further limit the gum supply for the 2012 season.

Gum Arabic, the hardened sap of the acacia tree, helps citrus flavors and other oil-based flavors remain evenly suspended in beverages such as sports drinks, carbonated soft drinks and juice drinks. In addition to being an effective emulsifier in beverages, it also is an excellent carrier for the spray-dried flavors used in instant beverage formulations and savory snacks.

However, with gum Arabic in short supply, food and beverage manufacturers have turned to Cargill for more reliable and lower-cost functional solutions such as EmulTru® starch.  Our customers include both global and regional beverage manufacturers and flavor emulsion manufacturers, which produce concentrated flavor emulsions for dilution at bottling companies.

Cargill's EmulTru starch boasts high-quality emulsion, a reliable domestic ingredient source and potential cost savings of 25% over gum Arabic. This emulsifying starch derived from waxy maize corn provides similar functionality to gum Arabic in terms of flavor emulsion and cloud beverages—but with many important advantages:
> Longer-term emulsion stability (longer than 6 months)
> More consistent quality performance due to homogenous, narrow particle size 
> Lower stabilizer requirements
> Does not require pre-hydration
> Can be used at 18% to 20% solid formulation and remain liquid in cold storage for high-flavor oil formulation, qualities that present additional cost savings when shipping concentrated emulsions. Stable, high-solids concentrates reduce transportation costs and increase concentration production rates.
> Ease of use and production efficiency may result in even more cost savings
> Less foaming and sediments may save production costs and increase productivity
> No need for new equipment or processing conditions

The gum Arabic alternative accomplishes the same goals at lower prices with the bonus of consistent availability.  We’d love to talk to you about how we might be able to lower your costs while producing the same high-quality foods and beverages in 2012. Here's to higher profits in the new year!

For information about EmulTru starch as an effective alternative to gum Arabic to help manage formulation costs in sports beverages, you can view a short video here.

Wen-Juin Shieh is a technical leader in Cargill Texturizing Solutions. He has been with Cargill for all of his 23 years in the industry.