With the big push by consumers for clean labels and natural ingredients, gums got—well, gummed up—in some misconceptions, that they somehow are artificial additives. But gums and other hydrocolloids in foods and beverages nearly always are natural ingredients.

David Feder, Executive Editor-Technical, interviews Erhan Yildiz, PhD, director of the hydrocolloid consulting group SKC, LLC. Dr. Yildiz is one of the nation’s leading experts on hydrocolloids in food and beverage product development and an adjunct professor of food science at Rutgers University. Yildiz also is the former Senior Director of Technical Services US/Canada for Ingredion Inc., and the former head of R&D for TIC Gums. In this interview, he emphasizes that gums are “close to nature, minimally processed ingredients.”

Dr. Yildiz also points out that gums exist in kitchen cupboards around the world, citing guar gum in India, locust bean gum in Turkey, seaweed in Ireland, and acacia gum in Africa. In home cooking and in industry, they are commonly used to thicken or gel foods, or build texture in general.

Yildiz further notes that suppliers are launching more label friendly, consumer-positive versions with more approachable nomenclature, such as citrus fiber, maple fiber, seaweed powder, seaweed flour, etc.

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