Comparison Hydrocolloids

Gelatine is worldwide the most used hydrocolloid due to its unique properties. In comparison to gelatine, carrageen forms a brittle, barely elastic gel. Pectin gels have no elastic properties at all. Alginates form clear, elastic gels, but their melting point is much higher than that of gelatine. The resultant lower release of flavours leads to a completely different, reduced flavour profile. Starches and modified starches can lead to unpleasant textures due to the large quantities needed. Many hydrocolloids need a much more complicated food production process and are thus more expensive. And this goes hand in hand with a comparatively poorer product quality.

The advantages at a glance

Gelatine "Other hydrocolloids"
Gelatine is multi-functional: gelling, thickening, water-binding, emulsifying, foaming, film forming ... No other single hydrocolloid offers the same combination of functionalities. Furthermore, a combination of different HC has to be used to obtain a similar functionality.
Gelatine is a food ingredient. Other hydrocolloids as well as modified starches have E numbers, and are thus considered as additives.
Gelatine forms a thermo reversible gel which melts at around body temperature resulting in excellent mouthfeel as well as intensive flavour release. Other hydrocolloids do not have this property.
Gelatine is available in different gel strengths and particle sizes and can be tailor-made for specific applications. Generally, other hydrocolloids do not cover a range of gel strengths – modification of jelly strength is therefore achieved by blending with other ingredients such as sugars and salts.
Particle size can be adapted to production needs to achieve easy solubility. Solubility can only be achieved by blending with other ingredients and/or at a higher temperature or by applying sheer force.
Gelatine is fully and easily digestible. Some hydrocolloids prevent the uptake of trace elements.
Gelatine is easy to use - it gels within the normal pH range of most foods and does not require the addition of salts, sugars or acids to set. Often the addition of salts, food acids or sugars is necessary to form a gel.
Gelatine Starches and Modified Starches
Gelatine is a food. Modified starches have E numbers.
Texture and clarity are natural properties of gelatine. Starches and modified starches do not create comparable texture and clarity.
Gelatine’s properties arise naturally. Starch has to be chemically modified to obtain some of the properties of gelatine.
Gelatine is natural and requires no chemical modification. Modifications are done chemically.
Gelatine can be declared GMO-free. Starches might be obtained from genetically modified plants.
There is longstanding knowledge of gelatine and its metabolism is well-known. The metabolism of chemically modified starches is not well-known.
Gelatine has no limit of intake and has the GRAS status. Modified starches have an ADI which indicates there is a limit for ingestion.
Gelatine can be consumed daily without health concerns. The effect on health of the daily consumption of modified starches is unknown.

Further Reading

Health & Nutrition benefits of gelatine

Applications of gelatine

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