Commodities are sold for what they ARE.
Specialties are sold for what they DO.
– Charles Kline, founder of the Kline Group
IN2NI and IMR International strongly believe that hydrocolloids are specialties. In our promotion of trade in hydrocolloids, we ensure that the unique grade and performance of each hydrocolloid is recognized and valued as such.
Although standards exist for specific hydrocolloids, a wide variety of grades and performances are available within the different categories of hydrocolloids (e.g. agar, alginates, LBG etc.). Below, factors that determine grades and performances show that the potential number of modifications and combinations within a given category is endless:
Dennis Seisun, IMR International
Although hydrocolloids are generally added at a very low use level of 0.1-1.0%, their impact on the final product is considerable. A small error in hydrocolloid content or functionality makes a big and often costly difference.
Even if the same hydrocolloid is processed by the same company but at different production facilities, there can be differences in content and functionality. These minute differences are known as hydrocolloid fingerprints and can also lead to different end results. For example, a food product can get a different texture. This again demonstrates the specialty nature of hydrocolloids and the risk of regarding them as standardized commodities. Manufacturers, traders and suppliers need to treat hydrocolloids as specialties and closely work together to ensure that hydrocolloids perform in end-products as needed.
This article is the first in a series of articles on specialty natural ingredients, to be published on the IN2NI website.