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Application of Food Thickeners in Frozen Food

Application of Food Thickeners in Frozen Food


Thickeners can improve the quality of food, maintain its freshness and chewiness, and also have water solubility, stability, gelling effect, foaming effect, stable foam effect, bonding effect, film forming effect, water retention effect, taste correction effect, health benefits, etc. The types of thickeners are many, most of which are derived from polysaccharide-rich plants and seaweed substances, such as starch, pectin, agar, etc.; some are derived from animal materials containing proteins, such as gelatin; and some are extracted from microbial fermentation products, such as xanthan gum.


Rheological characteristics of food thickeners

Food thickeners generally refer to large molecular substances that can dissolve in water and fully hydrate under certain conditions to form viscous and smooth solutions, also known as food gums. They are an important type of food additive widely used in the food industry, serving as gelling agents. They improve the physical properties or tissue state of food, making it a viscous and smooth food additive that is pleasant to eat. Thickeners can also have emulsifying and stabilizing effects.

Thickeners mainly provide the required rheological characteristics for food, changing the texture and appearance of food, forming specific forms for liquid and paste-like food, stabilizing and homogenizing it, and improving the quality of food to make it feel smooth and palatable. For example, the quality of ice cream and frozen desserts largely depends on the state of ice crystals. Adding thickeners can prevent the formation of excessively large ice crystals, making the texture smoother and avoiding a rough and gritty texture.

Adding food thickeners to frozen foods

Currently, food thickeners and emulsifiers are the mainstream additives for improving the quality of frozen foods, each with different functions. During the freezing process of frozen products, the role of thickeners is to reduce the free-flowing water and form a new structure through interaction with food components, thereby improving the low-temperature stability of frozen food systems, controlling the growth rate and size of ice crystals in noodle products. At the same time, thickeners form complex structures with the main components in frozen foods, such as starch and protein, improving the texture of the dough, reducing cracking rate, creating a smoother surface and better taste, making the production process easier to handle, preventing the occurrence of soupiness after cooking, and thus improving product quality and extending the shelf life of the product.

A single additive can often only satisfy certain aspects of quality improvement. In addition, different food systems and processing methods have different interactions between food ingredients, leading to significant differences in effects. Therefore, the goal of the thickeners industry is to study the combination of various additives to achieve a comprehensive effect on the product.

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