“Time-pressed Americans, seeking foods they can quickly consume at their desks, in their cars or at home, as they rush from one daily obligation to another, choose convenience over all other factors—including healthfulness, price and taste—when it comes to buying on-the-go food,” according to “On-the-go Eating in the U.S.: Consumer, Foodservice, Retailing & Marketing Trends,” a new report published in August 2007 from Packaged Facts. In fact, 65% of consumers claim to try eating healthier, but 33% say they do not have time to prepare or eat healthy meals. This translates into opportunities for prepared foods and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages that also are perceived as healthy or natural.

Beverage manufacturers have responded to this “on-the-go” opportunity by creating beverages fortified with ingredients that consumers desire for healthy eating while on-the-go. Fortification, especially with insoluble materials, presents challenges for the formulator with respect to shelflife, visual appeal and acceptable drinking experiences for the consumer.

CP Kelco’s KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum products have been specifically designed to address these needs. KELCOGEL products create a nano gel—an entangled network of a low concentration of large molecules. This network results in a fluid gel that lends excellent suspension and viscosity properties to a liquid formulation. The unique way KELCOGEL works allows formulators the ability to stabilize beverages while minimally impacting mouthfeel, viscosity and flavor.

One drawback to RTD, healthy fruit juices that consumers dislike is the natural settling of the juice cloud. This, along with pulp separation, makes them seem less appealing. CP Kelco has developed a unique hydrocolloid technology that is specially designed to allow long-term stabilization of both the juice cloud and pulp in RTD fruit juices. KELCOGEL® PS Gellan Gum technology added to fruit juices creates more pseudoplastic rheology, increasing suspension properties without negatively impacting mouthfeel. In fact, for an entire range of natural beverage formulations, CP Kelco has created solutions to overcome settling and shelf-stability.

Soy beverages have similar challenges. For beverage formulators, in fact, the development of a soy beverage that remains smooth and stable over the shelflife of the product can be quite difficult. KELCOGEL® HS-B Gellan Gum is designed to aid in meeting this challenge and helps to promote a well-suspended and -stabilized soy protein. It can also help suspend and stabilize a wide range of natural ingredients such as calcium, fiber and cocoa. KELCOGEL HS-B functions at low viscosity, minimally imparting mouthfeel and flavor.

Neutral pH dairy beverages like chocolate/flavored milks, RTD coffee or tea, and nutritional beverages are another drink category popular with consumers. These beverages have a tendency to settle, resulting in solids on the bottom of the container. KELCOGEL® HM-B Gellan Gum is the CP Kelco formulating solution for stabilizing these types of beverages. KELCOGEL HM-B is compatible with typical dairy processing equipment such as UHT, HTST and pasteurization; it disperses well and is heat-stable.

Jane Schulenburg, marketing manager, CP Kelco, concludes, “With the aid and experience of our beverage application designers and unique chemistry of KELCOGEL, RTD beverages can keep the same look of freshness as the first day they were bottled.”

—Kerry Hughes, Contributing Editor

For more information:

CP Kelco,  San Diego, Calif.
Michelle Steele, 858-467-6504