Hydrocolloids are functional carbohydrates used in many foods to enhance their shelf-life and quality. These additives are used to modify the viscosity and texture of food products like ice cream, salad dressings, gravies, processed meats, and beverages. They are chiefly used to modify the rheology of the food system, specifically viscosity and texture.

A colloid is a type of mixture where one substance is dispersed evenly throughout another. A hydrocolloid is a colloid system where the colloidal particles are dispersed in water. Hydrocolloids may be reversible or irreversible, which means they can fluctuate between a gel-state and a solid-state; many are naturally derived. While some hydrocolloids are used independently, many are used in tandem with one another to provide the optimum result within the formulation.

Cellulose, a linear polysaccharide, is the most common organic compound on earth derived from cotton and wood pulp. Cellulosics are universally used in food products for their unique functional attributes. Cellulose ethers provide food & nutrition formulators with rheological and performance benefits in an array of applications from beverages, bakery items, confectionery, frozen products, and more.

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Hydrocolloidsadhesion, binding, emulsification, stabilization, texture modification, thickening
Cellulosicsdietary fiber source, encapsulation, film forming, suspension, thermo-gelation, water binding

Featured Hydrocolloids

Download a full copy of the featured hydrocolloids (PDF, 342 KB) to learn more about the raw material source, key functional properties, and more!

HydrocolloidSolution ClarityPotential Applications
Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC)ExcellentBeverages, bakery products, sauces, frozen desserts, syrups, icings & frostings, candies
CarrageenanGoodFrozen desserts, ice cream, chocolate milk, meats (ham, poultry), sauces and dressings, dessert gels, flan
Guar GumFairDairy products, frozen desserts, sauces and dressings, processed cheese, dips
Gum ArabicExcellentBeverage emulsions, confectionery applications, baked goods, syrups, dietary fiber
Gum TragacanthFairSauces and dressings, crystallization inhibition
Hydroxypropyl Cellulose (HPC)ExcellentWhipped toppings, confectionery coatings & glazes, films (breath strips & mints)
Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC)ExcellentSauces, fillings, extrusion, batters & breadings, gluten-free breads, whipped toppings
Locust Bean GumFairFrozen desserts, cream cheese, dips, jams, jellies, pies, puddings, ice cream, cheese fillings
Methyl Cellulose (MC)ExcellentMeat analogues, sauces, fillings
PectinExcellentJams and jellies, confectionery applications, beverages, yogurt, fruit preps, bakery fillings
Propylene Glycol AlginateFairSalad dressings, beverages, frozen dairy, fresh citrus fruit coatings
Sodium AlginateGoodCheese sauce, restructured foods, puddings, desserts, candy, frostings
Xanthan GumFairSauces and dressings, dry mixes, beverages, bakery, frozen foods

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Hydrocolloids improving processed foods


As the food industry continues to move forward, advancements in technology are impacting the application of hydrocolloids and other ingredients commonly added to food systems.

If you're interesting in learning more about hydrocolloids, take a few minutes to read our guide to Hydrocolloids Food Additives.

Hydrocolloids Food Additives