Known and Used in the Times of Napoleon Bonaparte

18 August 2023 Lauta

Carrageenan is a substance obtained from red sea algae in cold and warm waters. The Irish were the first to use it in food production around 1800. It has been a local curiosity for a long time. Only the Second World War and the cut-off of Europe and the USA from the supply of agar - the most popular hydrocolloid produced by Japan at that time - resulted in a rapid increase in the popularity of carrageenan.

Functional botanical ingredients have become very popular in recent times. According to the Mintel portal, manufacturers most willingly use the functional properties of pectin, natural and modified starches, and carrageenans. It is an ingredient that is not digested by humans, so it can be classified as one of the insoluble fibers (therefore, in people suffering from intestinal diseases, its consumption may cause discomfort and exacerbate the symptoms of the disease). According to the latest research, it is considered as a ballast substance that stimulates intestinal peristalsis and supports regulatory functions. It has probiotic properties, meaning that it enhances the development of desirable microorganisms in the intestines of the digestive tract. The content of carrageenans in the product does not interfere with the absorption of iron, proteins and other nutrients.

Systematically repeated studies of carrageenans around the world confirm the safety of its use as a functional food ingredient. According to the recommendations prepared by the European Union, it can be added to food on a quantum satis basis, i.e. without restrictions, but in the minimum dose needed to achieve the intended technological effect.

Vegetable gelatin substitutes are used to obtain the right texture of vegan and vegetarian products. But not only. Carrageenan has a unique ability to interact with proteins, perfectly combines water and oily ingredients, which is why it works perfectly in all dairy products, especially those with reduced fat content.

Three types of carrageenans: kappa, iota and lambda, have different properties. Their mixtures in appropriate proportions allow for unusual solutions.

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