A French company has developed an Arabic gum-based emulsifier that it claims can be used in much lower concentrations than conventional products.
The innovation could interest beverage makers forced to contend with rocketing prices.
"This product - CaraGum EM CG 108-2 - costs less than conventional gum Arabic products because it is concentrated," Frederic Tur, commercial director of CaraGum International told FoodNavigator.
"This means that it can be used in doses 10 times less than conventional gum Arabic."
Gum Arabic, known as the Rolls Royce' of gums, is widely used by the food industry as a thickener, adhesive, and stabiliser and is heavily used as an emulsifier in beverages.
The top producers (mainly Sudan) bring about 50,000 tonnes of the gum to the market each year.
However, the supply of gum Arabic (E414 in the EU), also known as acacia gum because it comes from Acacia trees in the gum belt of Africa, is variable due to political and climatic factors in the primary producing countries, and this has led to spikes in the price of the ingredient.
High costs and unreliable supplies have therefore led researchers to find viable alternatives or cheaper ways of producing the ingredient. CaraGum believes it has found a viable solution.
"It is a very competitive sector," said Tur. "To get ahead of the opposition, we needed to develop something different. There is nothing on the market like this."
The company said that it has been working on this innovation for two years. It targeted ten companies in South America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Algeria to test out the product, and claims that the results were very positive.
"CaraGum EM CG 108-2 is a very powerful emulsifier with perfect stabilising properties," said Tur.
However, the product needs to undergo a process different to conventional gum Arabic, and must be used on equipment capable of dealing with pressures of more than 300 bars.
CaraGum exports more than 85 per cent of its products and is present in over 60 countries. It operates two divisions a gum Arabic division for beverages and a food stabilisers division.
Production is based in Marseille, France and the company is certified to ISO 9001 standards. According to Tur, the company will soon receive ISO 22000 accreditation.