In the past, low-sugar varieties of jams and jellies usually were created using high levels of gums or starches that often were not fruit-derived. These ingredients, at times, had a negative effect on taste and appearance.

Since interest in reduced-sugar foods is on the rise, there is a need for ingredients that help deliver a desirable “gelling/thickening” texture in jams and jellies that, with reduced sugar, have reduced levels of soluble solids. One answer is provided by GENU® LM pectin from CP Kelco, an ingredient which won gold in Food Ingredients Europe's “Most Innovative Food Ingredient Awards” competition in 2005.

This new line of pectins allows manufacturers to create low-sugar jams and jellies while maintaining all the sensory quality of full-sugar fruit spreads. “Low use levels of these pectins ensure an excellent flavor sensation and release, which is contrary to the flavor masking that is usually the result of thickening with starch, carrageenan, locust bean and guar gums in these applications,” says Ria Van Hoef, food marketing manager at CP Kelco.

“The texture of fruit spreads made with GENU LM pectin is firm, spreadable and delicate, without being pasty or sticky as is often seen with other thickeners,” describes Van Hoef. “The fruit spreads dissolve easily in the mouth, while GENU LM pectin provides the body of a conventional high-sugar jam, giving a clean fruit taste sensation.”

GENU LM pectins behave similarly to more traditional pectins, but are very robust and preserve their functionality even at pasteurizing conditions of 90°C for 5 to 20 minutes, at a pH of 3.3. Indeed, GENU LM pectin types show a broad working range with regard to pH (from 3.2 to 3.6) and calcium content. Calcium levels have an influence on pectin gelling capabilities. Accordingly, GENU LM pectin can be used with most fruits (e.g., peach has 160ppm calcium, strawberry has 350ppm calcium, and orange has above 350ppm calcium). Using real fruits supplants the need for the addition of “extra” calcium.

A relatively high setting temperature allows for a high filling temperature, making it possible to manufacture fruit spreads without preservatives in hot fill operations, a characteristic that can offer labeling benefits.

GENU LM pectin types ensure no syneresis will appear in the fruit spreads, even after mechanical rupture of the gel structure. “This excellent water-binding capacity is outstanding,” asserts Van Hoef.

GENU LM pectin types are cost competitive and easy-to-use with conventional production equipment. Also as a result of the moderate pectin use level, the fruit spreads show very good color and shininess, advises Van Hoef. “The jellies can be brittle or soft, depending on the pectin type used, but will have a great fruit flavor and make a tasty dessert or snack, with a healthy amount of fruit.”

For more information:
CP Kelco, San Diego • Ria Van Hoef
858-292-4900 • •

1: Syneresis, high-soluble solids and masked flavor are traits of some thickeners that can create an unappealing jam or jelly. Certain types of pectins reduce these characteristics and also allow for more real fruit ingredients.