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Hydrocolloids are often called gums, these are hydrophilic polymers, of vegetable, animal, microbial or synthetic origin, that generally contain many hydroxyl groups and may be polyelectrolytes. They are naturally present or added to control the functional properties of aqueous foodstuffs. Most important amongst these properties are viscosity (including thickening and gelling) and water binding but also significant are many others including emulsion stabilisation, prevention of ice recrystallisation and organoleptic properties. The degree with which the hydrocolloid solutions mix with saliva, determined by their degree of chain entanglement, determines flavour perception.


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