The Role of Food Additives Part 3: Stabilizers, Thickeners, and Gelling Agents

Published on: May 11 2017

Ever wonder why you see items like ‘gums’ on ingredient labels? Ingredients like gums, pectin, and lecithin are to be thanked for maintaining the stability, mouthfeel, and quality of products over their shelf life. The article ‘Stabilizers, Thickeners, and Gelling Agents’ by Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RDN in Food & Nutrition Magazine covers the critical role of these ingredients in food.

Although there is some controversy among consumers with regard to these types of food additives, a quote from Roger Clemens, DrPH (a member of the Kerry Health and Nutrition Institute Scientific Advisory Council) sums it up best: “Most concerns about food additives are related to synthetic ingredients added to foods, yet 99 percent of these additives are derived from natural sources and meet all of the FDA standards for safety, intended use and populations.”

Once again, transparency is key. To help build consumer trust with these key food ingredients, Kathleen Zelman suggests comparing their function to household items consumers understand. For example, lecithin in a processed food stabilizes a product the same way an egg yolk would in a home-prepared food.

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