Pectin, a popular ingredient with unique functionalities
Pectin is a water-soluble fiber derived from apple and citrus peels and is used as an emulsifying, stabilizing, gelling, and thickening agent in food products. It is particularly distinguished by its ability to stabilize protein in an acidic environment.
In recent years, pectin has grown in popularity with food manufacturers, as consumer demand for nature-derived and easy-to-understand food ingredients increases. Pectin is also widely used by product developers as it provides solutions to fast-growing consumption of sugar-reduced beverages and acidified dairy drinks.
As pectin performance is dependent on the freshness of the peels used, an uninterrupted supply of fresh peel raw material is needed to produce functionally better performing pectin that exhibits improved protein stabilization power and enhanced sensory characteristics. These high performing pectins are also able to work at lower dosage levels, thus have the potential of further reducing the cost-in-use for manufacturers.
Cargill, a global agribusiness with 155 years of heritage in food and agriculture, has acquired a rich history and deep experience as a global supplier of value-added pectins over the past two decades.
Stringent raw material management and processing expertise
Pectin functionality starts with the quality of the fruit peel which is often subject to seasonal and natural fluctuations. A depth of knowledge and experience is needed to manage these variations efficiently, aiming at quality consistency in the final product delivered to customers.
Supplier qualifications and raw material parameters are also important and can be facilitated by in-house programs that keep track of how characteristics of fruit peels correspond to the functionality of the pectin produced. Actively working with suppliers on the development of raw materials to ensure the highest quality output brings benefits, too.
Expertise in pectin processing can unlock the full potential of pectin products. For example, understanding the effects of temperature and the interactions between different pectin types play a critical role in designing the desired stabilization properties of pectin.
Pectins have been successful in gummies, aerated confectionery, fruit pastes, and toffees applications, as well as bakery filling applications, designed to deliver various technical specifications, such as depositing thermo-reversibility and texture balance between pumpability and bake stability. Customers appreciate these functionalities which are made possible by Cargill’s complete pectin raw material portfolio.
In acidified dairy drink applications, pectin offerings help provide the desired sensory profile for customer needs. For example, high-performance pectins with improved stabilization properties bring about lighter and more refreshing mouthfeel; while the use of high purity components enables optimal flavor release.
Emerging pectin innovations include solutions for acidified dairy drinks which will deliver strong performance in both functionality and organoleptics. These new developments, in addition to the current range of pectins, will be beneficial to product developers looking to create their next generation of products.
A track record of winning in the market
Over the years, Cargill has developed a suite of pectin products that has won over consumers and manufacturers across a range of popular food applications, with its ability to create unique product textures and offer wider range of setting temperatures and greater flexibility at different pH levels to meet varying requirements.
Cargill’s journey in pectin began in 2005 with the acquisition of Citrico GMBH in Malchin, Germany, which marked the company’s entry into citrus pectin production and sales.
In 2006, Cargill acquired German chemical giant Degussa’s food ingredients business, adding pectin manufacturing derived from apple and lemon peels. In that process, Cargill also became the owner of Redon plant in France, the world’s first large-scale pectin production facility built in 1941.
From 2007 to 2014, Cargill continued to grow its pectin business in terms of scale, productivity, quality and reliability, to establish itself as a world player in pectin.
The 2015 acquisition of FMC's pectin operations in Milazzo, Sicily enabled Cargill to further develop its offerings, particularly pectin from fresh citrus peels that can impart better functionality.
With a strong asset portfolio, Cargill has been working with suppliers to promote best practices in sustainable operations with several initiatives implemented, from reducing sourcing transportation footprint to securing renewable sources of steam for production. Over the last five years, Cargill’s energy consumption at its European-based pectin plants fell by 20%.
Building on firm foundations to enhance its standing as a leading pectin supplier, last year Cargill broke ground for a new pectin facility, located in a key citrus-growing region in Bebedouro, Brazil. The plant is due to open by July 2021, with first deliveries to customers expected to begin from end 2021. This plant will significantly expand Cargill’s ability to serve growing demand by customers globally, and in particular for Asia Pacific customers.
Designed to be the world’s most modern pectin operation with state-of-the-art technology and highly efficient processing, the facility’s proximity to the citrus-growing region will ensure an abundant supply of fresh peels from the juice industry. Cargill has a supply agreement with one of the largest juice producers in Brazil, to ensure supply of fresh peel raw material.
The partner of choice in pectin
Cargill’s highly versatile pectin portfolio is only one part of its value proposition. Equally important is the company’s technical experts who are based around the world and are able to recommend the right pectin solution to application challenges faced by food manufacturers and customers.
While there are no magic bullets in product development, Cargill's rich experience and expertise in pectin and its commitment to continuous innovation are an important part of the equation to help product developers to achieve their goal to create consumer-winning food products.
Visit www.cargill.com to learn more and get in touch with the company’s local sales representatives.