New Jersey's International Specialty Products (ISPs) has formed a partnership with the Center for Advanced Technology & Innovation (CATI) to expand the use of ISP's alginate in restructured foods.
ISP has numerous patents covering alginate, which are gums used extensively by the food industry to thicken, gel and bind products such as ice cream and desserts.
Alginates are derived from alginic acid obtained from seaweed (kelp), which has seen prices shooting up over recent years.
The deal will help ISP promote its alginate into multiple food applications, Sally Romano director of ISP food and beverage North America said.
ISPs alginate technology can be used to form thin strips of material for things like films or coatings. It can also be used to provide a thin gelled coating on the surface of food products such as onion rings.
Alginate can also be used in food to help form a variety of shapes, such as diced or cut into fruit-like shapes, extruding into individual molds or slicing into small pieces, ISP said.
"There are many industries in which consistency in shape and size of the food product is critical to the firms cost structures, including the fast food industry and other high volume food manufacturers," a spokesperson said.
Researchers from the University of Buffalo earlier this month said alginate can help increase the feeling of satiety. They found a beverage containing alginate-pectin and calcium can form a stable gel in the stomach and boosts the feeling of fullness.
Studies in the past have linked alginate coating to being able to reduce fat in battered fish.
CATI is a non-profit economic development organization based in Southeastern Wisconsin. It is hoping to find new market applications for ISPs technology.
Last October ISP said it would put up prices for ingredients in the wake of increasing raw material and energy costs.
Like many of its competitors, ISP felt the pinch of higher raw material and energy costs, and has again resorted to passing some of these on to customers.
The firm said prices will increase 10-15 percent for all its propylene glycol alginates. The increases will affect customers globally and was implemented from November.