The application of natural hydrocolloids in food systems has steadily continued to grow. Hydrocolloids provide functionalities such as thickeners, gelling agents, stabiliser, bulking agents, and emulsifiers. For example, being effective fat-replacers directed significant research for the development of good-tasting, low-fat foods. Additionally, some hydrocolloids have been shown to provide health benefits such as being probiotic ingredients. The growth in the applications as well as research and developments for new products are mainly driven by consumer demands to use only natural ingredients. More recently the traceability and sustainability of these materials are equally important.
The increasing recognition of leading food manufactures of hydrocolloids structural parameters correlation with functionality is the main focus of our research and development at Chester University. An example of analytical protocols to follow for fast, accurate and reliable measurements of the structural characteristics of gum arabic associated with good and poor emulsifiers will be highlighted. Additionally, a brief description will be given about the quality system developed for the gum industry to help producer and user companies to validate quality and functionality of pre-shipment samples prior to selection.