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Gelling agents are food additives used to thicken and stabilize various foods, like jellies, desserts and candies. The agents provide the foods with texture through formation of a gel. Some stabilizers and thickening agents are gelling agents.

Typical gelling agents include natural gums, starches, pectins, agar-agar and gelatin. Often they are based on polysaccharides or proteins.

Alginic acid, sodium alginate, potassium alginate, ammonium alginate, calcium alginate- polysaccharides from brown algae.

Extracts of plants such as konjac and Ficus pumila are also commonly made into jellies and used in many East Asian cuisines.

Many thickening agents require extra care in cooking. Some starches lose their thickening quality when cooked for too long or at too high a temperature, and thickened food may burn more easily during cooking. As an alternative to adding more thickener, recipes may call for reduction of the food's water content by lengthy simmering. When cooking, it is generally better to add thickener cautiously; if over-thickened, more water may be added but loss of flavour and texture may result.

Food thickening can be important for people facing medical issues with chewing or swallowing, as foods with a thicker consistency can reduce the chances of choking, or of inhalation of liquids or food particles, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia.

Gelling agent Info


E322 Lecithins

E400 Alginic Acid

E401 Sodium Alginate

E402 Potassium Alginate

E403 Ammonium Alginate

E404 Calcium Alginate

E405 Propane-1,2-Diol Alginate

E406 Agar

E407 Carrageenan

E407a Processed Eucheuma Seaweed

E408 Furcellaran *

E410 Locust Bean Gum/Carob Gum

E411 Oat Gum

E413 Tragacanth

E412 Guar Gum

E414 Acacia Gum/Gum Arabic

E415 Xanthan Gum

E416 Karaya Gum

E417 Tara Gum

E418 Gellan Gum

E425 Konjac

E440 Pectin

E441 Gelatin

E1103 Invertase

E426 Soybean Hemicellulose

E427 Cassia Gum

* Denotes no longer in use as an additive

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E423 Octenyl Succinic Acid Modified Gum Arabic

E 422 Glycerol