SupplySide West: Can Hydrocolloids Impact Beverage Flavor?


A few gums and starches have noticeable flavor, despite their functionality.

In beverages, hydrocolloids and starches can have fat-reducing and texture-building benefits, but they may also impart unwanted flavors in otherwise market-ready products. Which gums and starches, then, should manufacturers be especially careful with? Experts at SupplySide West’s education track are providing the answers this week.

Janae Kuc, R&D manager for Gum Technology (Tucson, AZ), says most gums won’t impart noticeable flavor in beverages and other health food products, mainly because these ingredients are used at such low levels. These ingredients are used at such low levels, that any flavor they may have alone isn’t noticeable. A curious exception to the many gums and hydrocolloids that are usually flavorless in health products, however, is fenugreek gum. “Fenugreek gum does tend to have a little bit of a maple flavor,” says Kuc.

On the starch side, corn starch stands out for its cereal-like flavor notes. “You may not taste the cereal [note] in a finished beverage, per se, but it could cover up some of the more desirable flavors,” says Darrin Delgado, applications scientist for Penford Food Ingredients (Centennial, CO). If flavoring is a concern, rice starches, tapioca starches, and potato starches are largely perceived to be cleaner and more neutral in flavor.

The above insights came from SupplySide West’s food product design track session, “Texture Techniques: Developing Healthier Beverages for Kids.”

Robby Gardner
Associate Editor
Nutritional Outlook magazine

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