Thickeners and gelling agents

Thickeners and gelling agents

Thickeners are substances which increase the viscosity of food products in order to thicken them. Thickeners improve and preserve the food product texture, allow obtaining products with the needed thickness, “body”, which contributes to a better taste perception (so called “mouthfeel” effect). Owing to the capacity to increase viscosity of water media thickeners stabilize dispersed systems: suspensions, emulsions and foams.

Gelling agents (gel-forming agents, gelling substances) are substances which in particular conditions are capable of gel forming.

Gels (jelly) are dispersed systems which have at least two components. Liquid is a dispersing medium. In food systems it is usually water, and gel is called hydrogel. A gelling agent is the dispersing phase, and its polymer chains form a cross-linked net. Within such a system water is physically bound and loses mobility. It results in alteration of the food product thickness.

The texture and stability of food gels may differ to a great extent, e.g. “tender” elastic gelatin gel and “curt” breakable/fragile carrageenan gel are not alike.

Agar-agar 800, 900

Agar or Agar-agar is the most potent gelling agent of plant origin which can form gel with much lower concentrations than gelatin.

Carrageenan Aquagel PF 4303

Is used in the production of all types of sausage products, canned products, injections of delicatessen.


Pectin 102: Apple pectin, purified highly metaxylated pectin of fast charge, obtained from apple pomace with sugar.

Pectin 104: Purified highly metaxylated pectin of slow charge, obtained from apple pomace with sugar.

Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum is used in food systems as a thickener, gelling agent and stabilizer.