New gum arabic calorie count a boost to formulation

By Sarah Hills

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gum arabic, Acacia

The company behind a successful request for the caloric value of gum arabic to be reduced in the US has spoken of the benefits to customers who can now re-label and re-formulate products.

Colloides Naturels International (CNI), which is based in France, said it made the request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) some years ago because in the US the calorie count for gum arabic seemed too high.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed that it has sent a no objection letter for the caloric value to be changed from four to 1.7 calories per gram.

Olivier Houalla, CNI global sales director, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that although the FDA decision was not a ruling, it was significant because all American food processors can now use this amount for their caloric value calculation.

He said: “We have been the only one in the industry trying to obtain this value and we sponsored alone all the works which have been done prior to the submission. This was a very important point for us, as this high value was a major drawback during the formulation and developments of new products.

“For our customers, that means that they will have almost no restriction to use this natural, non modified soluble fiber. They would be able to combine the amazing functional properties with the nutritional advantages.

“Some of them will probably change their formulation at their advantage, and they would be able immediately to decrease the cal value on the labeling.”

CNI, a manufacturer of Acacia gum, said it received a no-objection letter from the FDA dated October 17th this year, so now US customers or customers selling to the USA can change their labels or formulations accordingly.

Houalla added: “Worldwide the caloric value of the gum acacia (gum arabic) is relatively low (less than two in Europe, one in Japan). The US was the exception with a value of four, which according to our studies, did not reflect the reality.

“We submitted at least four different studies showing that the value would be close to 1,7 kcal/g.”

Gum arabic market

Gum arabic is widely used by the food and beverage industry to thicken, emulsify and stabilize products such as candy, ice cream and sweet syrups as well as beverages. It is also a fiber.

The world market for gum arabic increased 9.1 percent from 165m in 2004 to $210m in 2007.

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