Consumers have certain expectations with regards to their foods and drinks. A beverage in which the particulates settle is neither attractive nor appetizing. And, in an era where speed and convenience are valued, a label statement that says “Shake Well Before Using” may be ignored.

Gums help product formulators meet consumer expectations. Gums enhance cloud stability and help assure pulp and other materials will remain in suspension. However, the levels of gums that often must be used to achieve stability come at a “sensory” cost, since they may impart high viscosity and a heavy mouthfeel.

In response to this, CP Kelco (San Diego) has introduced KELCOGEL[tm] PS, a new hydrocolloid blend designed with a principal component of KELCOGEL[r] gellan gum. KELCOGEL PS gellan gum blend forms “fluid gels” or a structured network formed at very low hydrocolloid concentrations. The concentration is too low to create a demoldable gel, but the gellan gum system still forms a weak network.

KELCOGEL PS gellan gum blend induces a pseudoplastic flow rheology in juice, which translates into high viscosity when the juice is at rest (e.g., on a grocery shelf) thus generating excellent storage stability. On application of shear--such as during processing, stirring or consumption--the network is temporarily disrupted, so there is little apparent viscosity to interfere with flavor release and mouthfeel.

KELCOGEL PS gellan gum blend also has low protein reactivity and good stability at low pH. These characteristics make the product compatible with a wide variety of beverages. Ease of dispersion and hydration will encourage its use in many beverage processing operations, since special mixing equipment will not be needed. The ingredient gum blend can improve many applications in the beverage market.

According to the manufacturer, KELCOGEL PS gellan gum blend is easy to use. The product has been specially formulated for quick and easy dispersion into juice with no lumping. The processor simply can add the gum to the juice prior to heat treatment. Hydration is easily achieved by heating the juice to 185 degrees F/85 degrees C for 30 seconds. Producers may chill the juice after the sterilization step and fill aseptically. The chill step will not adversely affect the stabilizing properties of the gums. CP Kelco suggests that, for optimum stability with minimum added viscosity, the gum blend should be used at levels from 0.25% to 0.30%.

CP Kelco has developed protocols applicable to a number of products, including ready-to-drink pineapple juice, ready-to-drink calcium-fortified fruit juice, an enhanced cloud product employing titanium dioxide and an orange-flavored ready-to-drink beverage. This ingredient resolves other long-standing beverage instability problems involving vitamins, minerals and nutraceuticals. In addition, it is now feasible to formulate new beverage concepts using gellan gum's ability to suspend insoluble flavors and colors.

CP Kelco, Cindy Palermo