Inside Scoop on Hydrocolloids

Fish and chips

Food and nutrition hydrocolloids

Average read time: 3 minutes

Hydrocolloids are functional carbohydrates used in many foods to enhance their shelf-life and quality. These additives are used to modify the viscosity and texture of food products like ice cream, salad dressings, gravies, processed meats, and beverages. They are chiefly used to modify the rheology of the food system, specifically viscosity and texture.

A colloid is a type of mixture where one substance is dispersed evenly throughout another. A hydrocolloid is a colloid system where the colloidal particles are dispersed in water. Hydrocolloids may be reversible or irreversible, which means they can fluctuate between a gel-state and a solid-state; many are naturally derived. While some hydrocolloids are used independently, many are used in tandem with one another to provide the optimum result within the formulation.

Cellulose, a linear polysaccharide, is the most common organic compound on earth derived from cotton and wood pulp. Cellulosics are universally used in food products for their unique functional attributes. Cellulose ethers provide food & nutrition formulators with rheological and performance benefits in an array of applications from beverages, bakery items, confectionery, frozen products, and more.

Download our Hydrocolloids Product List

Red and orange sweet potato chips

Hydrocolloids provide man functions in food products


  • adhesion
  • binding
  • emulsification
  • stabilization
  • texture modification
  • thickening


  • dietary fiber source
  • encapsulation
  • film forming
  • suspension
  • thermo-gelation
  • water binding
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Featured hydrocolloids

  • Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC)
  • Carrageenan
  • Guar Gum
  • Gum Arabic
  • Gum Tragacanth
  • Hydroxypropyl Cellulose (HPC)
  • Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (HPMC)
  • Locust Bean Gum
  • Methyl Cellulose (MC)
  • Pectin
  • Propylene Glycol Alginate
  • Sodium Alginate
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Featured hydrocolloid disclaimer

    Disclaimer: This document should be used as a reference only. Ultimate decisions are the sole responsibility of the customer. While the information set forth above has been prepared based on information believed to be reliable, any recommendations or advice given by Brenntag, its employees or agents in connection with the sale or use of products are provided as a courtesy only and without any liability. All warranties, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy of the information provided, including, without limitation, any implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, are expressly disclaimed and all responsibility for use of or reliance on such information rests solely with the customer. Please contact your local Brenntag representative for additional information and product availability.

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Looking for more information

As the food industry continues to move forward, advancements in technology are impacting the application of hydrocolloids and other ingredients commonly added to food systems.

If you're interesting in learning more about hydrocolloids, take a few minutes to read our guide to Hydrocolloids Food Additives.

Read our Guide to Hydrocolloids