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Acacia gum, a versatile ingredient for sugar-free and sugar-reduced food and drinks

The change of attitude towards sugar is one of the most important food evolutions of the last few years. Eliminating or reducing sugar content is mandatory in order to address the health issues faced by the world population. Public authorities, consumers and brands must face and tackle this issue collectively.

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The food industry also has a role to play via the reformulation of products and the promotion of healthy diets. In fact, manufacturers add sugar to 74% of packaged foods sold in supermarkets, according to the “Guidelines on sugars intake for adults and children” from the World Health Organization. At the same time, the consumers all over the world are asking for more naturalness and have the desire to minimize their consumption of products with too much sugar. Consumer behaviors in recent years have shaped marketing messages, and allowed the emergence of “sugarfree”, “sugar reduced” and “alternative sweetener” products. Now the challenge for manufacturers of consumers products is to find a solution to reduce sugar content without diminishing the taste of their products. And that is where acacia gum has a role to play.

Acacia gum is a dried exudate coming from two varieties of acacia trees. It has been safely used in food products worldwide for a long time, and is nowadays found in thousands of day-to-day products thanks to its various functional properties. It is particularly appreciated for being 100% natural and vegetal, and for the versatility of its applications.

Dr Isabelle Jaouen is the Director of the Research Center at Alland & Robert, one of the leading manufacturers of acacia gum worldwide. She said: “Formulating sugar-free or sugar-reduced products to reach satisfactory organoleptic profile and low-calorie content involve new formulation and can be challenging. As a texturing agent bringing low viscosity, acacia gum can be a solution​.” Acacia gum will indeed help compensate the loss of volume, texture and mouthfeel in sugar-reduced products. It is also known to bring stability factors by reducing the water activity, and improve the softness and mouthfeel thanks to an increase of the water retention. In addition, acacia gum can be used in combination with sweeteners. For example, the loss of creaminess and bitterness can be compensated by a mix of polyols such as sucralose and acacia gum.

Finally, acacia gum is a fiber, and due to its physical and functional properties, it is a good ingredient to enhance the fiber content of food products without compromising the appearance, texture or flavor of the food product. Acacia gum also helps with the glycemic response of food and drinks: Studies have shown that it lowers the peak glucose response. Acacia gum benefits also can be measured in areas such as bowel function, gut health, immunity, blood glucose control and glycemic index.

The French company Alland & Robert has been manufacturing acacia gum since 1884. Their focus on customized R&D and tailor made customer service have led them to create documentation about acacia gum and sugar reduction. It can be requested for more information at: vasb@nyynaqrgeboreg.se​ 

Alland & Robert will exhibit at FIE Paris on Hall 6 - Booth E130.