The family-run company, which has been involved in gum Arabic since 1884, has build up supply networks in Chad and Senegal. Chairman Frederik Alland told FoodNavigator.com that the new range, called Emulsifying 500, was developed thanks to the ability to select the gum with the best emulsifying properties by chromatography testing, and using a proprietary filtration process to concentrate the "most emulsifying part". He declined to disclose further details of this. Beverage formulators often use octenyl succinic anhydride (OSA) starch to flavor encapsulation stabilization - a process that may involve adding lipophilic groups. Alland said that the required level of OSA starch can be reduced by 25 per cent with Emulsifying 500. Moreover, the ingredient is being marketed on a natural origin platform, whereas OSA starches are chemically modified, he added. The main uses for the Emulsifying 500 range will be beverages and flavours for beverages. Laboratory manager Isabelle Jaouen explained that the company conducts practical studies on stabilisation mechanisms of oil in water emulsions, and analyses them using equipment such as the laser granulometer. "Gel permeation chromatography and surface tension measures are also applied in order to characterise main emulsifying fractions of the polymer and assure perfect emulsifying capacity to customers," she said. The ingredient is available in spray dried powder and instant-soluble forms. Alland & Robert has had a spray drying facility for the past 20 years. It recently opened a second facility in Normandy, France, which not only doubles capacity to 10,000 tonnes of spray dried gum Arabic per year, but also boasts more modern equipment, including new generation filters and automatic cleaning systems that are better for the environment. It has also allowed the company to start offering instant soluble or agglomerated gum Arabic as well. The benefit of this new format according to Alland, who said it is "like instant coffee", is that the spray dried powder can be difficult to use in water since it forms lumps. Alland & Robert's primary customer base is roughly split 50-50 between beverage and confectionery uses. However the company does not expect the Emulsifying 500 to be used in confectionery formulations since gum Arabic is mainly used in such products for film-forming and texturisation, not emulsifying. Thus, although the new ingredient is said to be only "slightly" more expensive than the regular gum Arabic, the extra cost is not justified.