The price and availability of guar gum are difficult to predict. Food developers who always relied on inexpensive supplies of guar are challenged to match its functionality in their current and future products. Food scientists from TIC Gums will present “Replacing Guar Gum: An Exercise in Product Development” at the Prepared Foods R&D Applications Seminar Chicago on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. This event is a two-day applications-oriented occasion dedicated to further educating the food and beverage industry’s formulators on specific application challenges.
Supply, demand and ingenuity
The tight supply and increase in price of guar gum stems from the oil and gas industry use of it in well fracturing or “fracking.” As a result of demand from the energy industry, the supply and demand for guar gum were never more variable than now, with potential shortages in the food industry. The need to reduce or eliminate an ingredient that heretofore was cost effective and useful results in substantial reformulation work for food product developers. A better way to formulate different gums and gum systems with qualities that match those of guar gum is possible.
Using the common language of texture defined in the Texture Lexicon from TIC Gums gives food developers the opportunity to define the desired textural attributes desired in food early in the development process.
The common language of texture
The lexicon of common texture terms was compiled to help articulate the qualities often associated with texture or “mouth feel” but more specifically in the way that textural attributes were described. “While everyone experiences food and beverages uniquely, agreement on how to designate texture is as important in the product development cycle as the actual formulation of the product,” said Gum Guru™ Maureen Akins of TIC Gums. “The Texture Lexicon from TIC Gums allows food developers working in cross functional groups to not only focus on texture as an under-utilized product differentiator but provides them with easily relatable terminology with which to express their opinions.”
Since June, 2011, many companies and developers have used the Texture Attribution process to describe and map textures of existing products that they want to mimic or change. The common vocabulary provides agreement on what is most needed to design products that are accepted by consumers much more quickly than was otherwise possible. The deliberate design of texture early in the development process reduced the amount of time needed to take a new or revised product from the lab bench to the store shelf.
Akins and fellow Gum Guru Dan Grazaitis will demonstrate corn bread, tomato soup, and sweetened tea formulated both with and without guar gum. “By starting with the desired textures needed in each, we designed hydrocolloid systems that mimic the qualities of guar by using other available hydrocolloids,” Grazaitis said. “Paying attention to the attributes allows you to formulate with a wide variety of hydrocolloids, not just guar. The outcomes are similar textural qualities to guar, but without using any guar.”
For the tomato soup and corn bread, the Gum Gurus used Ticaloid® GR 5420, a blend of gums that does not include any guar gum. Ticaloid GR 5420 is a 100 percent replacement of guar gum for food and beverages.