Identified additionally as carob bean gum, the ingredient is derived from the seed of the evergreen carob tree and acts as a pure stabilizer, thickener and emulsifier. It’s extremely sought-after by meals producers – significantly these within the enterprise of ice cream, dairy, toddler method and plant-based options – as an alternative choice to artificial stabilizers and thickeners, and for enabling clean-label formulations and supporting sustainable claims.
Within the final 5 years and particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic, demand vastly outstripped provide, inflicting costs to rise by 800% at one level. Various blends and substances had been formulated to plug the availability hole whereas providing related practical advantages at decrease costs. However in accordance with IFF, one of many largest suppliers of LBG globally, the disaster is now over. “The present state of locust bean gum availability is strong and steady. LBG pricing has additionally stabilized for the reason that provide shortages,” stated Jean-Baptiste Dufeu, world product supervisor, LBG, Nourish IFF.
“Presently, costs are near what they had been in 2017, when adjusted for inflation, previous to the kernel scarcity. Whereas it is pure to count on some minor fluctuations in costs, these variations are actually inside a really restricted vary.”
While not commenting on world provide chain situations, the IFF consultant stated the corporate itself was ‘absolutely ready’ to fulfill demand for the sought-after ingredient. “Over the previous 12 months, now we have recovered and strengthened our provide chains. Our efforts have included rebuilding stock carry-over shares, that are important for sustaining a constant provide, and taking proactive measures to develop situations for increased provide volumes within the coming a long time, together with assist for the event of latest plantations.”
The locust bean tree is an evergreen able to withstanding droughts which might be more and more affecting its native rising area – the Mediterranean – but it surely takes round 8-10 years for the tree to bear fruit, which might in flip be harvested solely annually. Dufeu admitted IFF was ‘conscious about the distinctive challenges related to carob manufacturing’ and that measures had been taken to mitigate the probability of one other extreme scarcity. “We have now proactively initiated strategic partnerships with farmers,” he said. “This long-term dedication to collaboration has been in progress for a number of years, and we’re already witnessing important outcomes.
LBG can be utilized throughout a large spectrum of each dairy and dairy options, and it’s a necessary ingredient in many various merchandise. Among the key purposes embody plant-based drinks, toddler method, cream cheese, pet meals, bakery and confectionery. LBG is well-known for its skill to reinforce creamy mouthfeel, texture, and shelf-life stability, contributing to the standard and efficiency of a spread of merchandise, which demonstrates its worth within the meals business.
“The partnerships not solely guarantee the present availability of carob but additionally lay the muse for sustained and strong provide sooner or later.
“By working intently with farmers, we’re actively contributing to the resilience of the business, minimising the chance of future shortages, and fostering the continued improvement of carob crops.”
However amidst rising availability of LBG options in the marketplace – both within the form of different pure substances reminiscent of tara gum or blends and specialist substances formulated to interchange LBG – what proof is there that producers nonetheless wish to use ‘the true factor’, given the value and availability fluctuations? Citing Mintel information, Dufeu stated there was ‘a constructive development within the demand for LBG amongst meals producers at this time’. “Within the first and second quarters of 2023, we have noticed that the variety of new merchandise incorporating LBG could be very near the figures recorded in the identical interval in 2021. This implies a notable resurgence in confidence amongst meals producers concerning LBG provide, indicative of a rising curiosity in LBG.
“Whereas demand for LBG is anticipated to rebound, it could take as much as 5 years to completely return to pre-crisis ranges.
“This five-year horizon permits for important will increase in crop quantity and carry-over shares, making certain a extra constant and dependable LBG provide for producers sooner or later.”
As for different substances and options, Dufeu insisted that there are components that counsel LBG stays superior. “LBG possesses distinctive functionalities which might be troublesome to interchange, and its effectiveness at low utilization charges units it aside from different substances. As an example, in purposes like ice cream, LBG excels in lowering ice crystal development at decrease focus ranges in comparison with different hydrocolloids. Moreover, producers who select LBG may be assured that they’re utilizing a naturally sourced ingredient from carob timber which might be grown with little or no use of fertilizers and water.”
In ice cream, LBG is essentially the most widely-used hydrocolloid, he added. “What’s extra, its utilization is anticipated to stay robust, mirroring the anticipated development of the ice cream market [2% CAGR from 2023 to 2027, according to Euromonitor]. Within the present market panorama, customers are in search of added worth of their meals selections, emphasising high quality, performance, clear labels, sustainability, and longer shelf life. On the identical time, many are in search of emotional connections by indulgence and premiumisation. This presents a novel alternative for ice cream manufacturers to proceed specializing in LBG utilization with minimal cost-in-use (CIU).”
Handbook of Hydrocolloids (Third Version), Woodhead Publishing Collection in Meals Science, Know-how and Vitamin 2021, Pages 273-293
Chapter 9: Galactomannans
Creator: L.M. Nwokocha