Food With Pectin

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For a delicious, healthy treat, eat like your grandparents did with food sweetened with pectin and nothing else.Apples and citrus fruits — such as peaches, oranges, grapefruits, apricots, and lemons — contain the highest amount of pectin among fruits. And among vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, and potatoes are those with the most pectin. Peas have the highest pectin concentration among legumes

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Food With Pectin

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, pectin is found in nearly all fruits and vegetables because it’s found in the cell walls of all green plants. The richest sources of pectin are found in the peels of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and passionfruit.

The amount of naturally occurring pectin depends on the ripeness of the fruit. Fruits that have just ripened have the highest pectin content and as the fruit continues to ripen, pectin decreases.

A September 1985 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that of apples, peaches, strawberries and oranges, oranges contained the most pectin. The same study found that of green beans, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes, carrots contained the highest amount of pectin.

Other fruits high in pectin include: apples, bananas, peaches, raspberries, blackberries and apricots. Peas, green beans, sweet potatoes and tomatoes also offer a high amount of pectin.

Though it should come as no surprise given that pectin is naturally found in fruits and vegetables that are considered healthy for you, a January 2014 article in the Polish journal, Hygiene and Experimental Medicine, points out pectin has many health promoting properties.

These properties include lowering cholesterol, delaying gastric emptying and a strong mucoadhesion capacity in the gastrointestinal tract to protect it from microbial invasion during periods of stress.

You’ll also find pectin in a number of processed foods since the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics lists it as a food additive. It is a thickener and used in a variety of products.

Pectin is related to pectinase. Pectinase is the enzyme that breaks down pectin, meaning that all foods that contain pectin are also foods with pectinase. Plants start to produce pectinase during the ripening process. If you’re looking for foods with pectinase, opt for ripe produce.

According to a June 2016 study published in 3 Biotech, pectinases are eco-friendly enzymes that are widely used in varying industries from food and wine, tea and the paper industry. Relying on enzymatic action is preferred over using chemical methods because it saves energy, is more specific and less aggressive. Foods with pectinase provide a natural source of enzymes.

Though more research is needed to discover additional strains of microbial pectinases, to produce pectinase in combination with other enzymes and to determine which combination of enzymes is most effective for a particular application. Once determined, however, using pectinases will greatly decrease production costs for various applications

Which Fruits Are High in Pectin

Pectin is a type of carbohydrate — specifically a polysaccharide — that’s found in the cell walls of plants, especially the leaves, roots and fruits. It acts mainly to bind plant cells together. Pectin content varies widely among plants and even within the same plant over time. In general, pectin is broken down by enzymes as fruit ripens and becomes softer. Pectin and other dietary fibers do not contribute significantly to nutrition — primarily because your intestines can’t digest them very well — but they do contribute to health. Pectin consumption impacts blood cholesterol levels and it help regulates blood glucose levels. It also helps remove toxins such as lead and mercury from your body.

Citrus Fruit

The fruits containing the most pectin are citrus fruits, especially grapefruits, lemons and oranges. The majority of the pectin resides in the citrus peel, but the pulp also contains some. You’d need to eat a equivalent of 6 grapefruits to get a significant amount of pectin — however, you can easily get more from each grapefruit by using the peel via zest. Use citrus zest to add flavor to homemade salad dressings and marinades, or add it to plain yogurt of cottage cheese.

Apples

Apples are also an excellent source of pectin. In practical terms, apples are often a better source than citrus fruit because most people eat the apple skins, which is where a significant proportion of the pectin resides. In contrast, the vast majority of people remove and discard the pectin-rich peel from citrus fruit. The amount of pectin in apple pulp ranges widely, from 0.14 to 1.15 percent of weight. Variety, growing conditions and ripeness affect pectin content.

Other Good Fruit Sources

A number of other fruits are very good sources of pectin — assuming you eat them with their skin — and these include all berries, peaches, apricots, cherries and grapes. Berries particularly notable for their pectin content include strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and dewberries. Bananas are also a good source, especially if you don’t let them get too ripe or soft before eating them.

List of Foods High in Pectin

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Pectins are a type of dietary fiber that is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Image Credit: Alter_photo/iStock/GettyImages

According to the Oregon State University Micronutrient Information Center, pectins are a type of dietary fiber that is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. Pectin makes up the majority of the fiber in citrus fruits.

What Is Pectin?

Pectin is a type of water-soluble fiber. It’s commonly used to make jams and jellies because it thickens to create a gel-like substance once it is combined with water.

Viscous fibers such as pectin have been shown to help lower cholesterol by binding to it in the digestive tract, as shown in a November 2018 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Naturally occurring pectin cannot be digested, so it must be modified in order to be digestible.

Because the pectin mixes with water to form a gel, it swells to fill the stomach and slows the gastric emptying process. This can make weight loss easier because you feel fuller for longer.

According to a February 2015 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, aiming to consume 30 grams of fiber every day can help you lose weight, improve the body’s response to insulin and lower your blood pressure as effectively as following the multiple components of the American Heart Association’s diet and lifestyle guidelines.

The Mayo Clinic says a high-fiber diet comes with many other benefits, as well. In addition to weight loss and cholesterol lowering benefits, you’ll also see normalized bowel movements, along with maintaining bowel health and better blood sugar control. Daily fiber requirements vary depending on age and gender and whole food sources are better than using supplements or fortified foods.

An April 2018 study published in Molecules shows that pectin is considered a prebiotic dietary fiber. It also demonstrates the potential for a wide variety of therapeutic uses, including anticancer, heavy metal-binding capacity and antiobesity applications.

Pectin is available in both liquid and powdered form for use in recipes. It is a main ingredient for making your own jams and jellies. Pectin requires acid and sugar to gel properly because acid helps to extract pectin from the fruit. Adding sugar enhances gel strength, by pulling water away from the pectin.

To maintain the proper balance of acid, sugar and pectin, fruits that are low in pectin are often combined with fruits that are high in pectin. If you make a jam or jelly with a fruit that isn’t naturally tart enough, recipes will generally call for adding lemon juice.

Foods With Pectin

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, pectin is found in nearly all fruits and vegetables because it’s found in the cell walls of all green plants. The richest sources of pectin are found in the peels of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and passionfruit.

The amount of naturally occurring pectin depends on the ripeness of the fruit. Fruits that have just ripened have the highest pectin content and as the fruit continues to ripen, pectin decreases.

A September 1985 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that of apples, peaches, strawberries and oranges, oranges contained the most pectin. The same study found that of green beans, carrots, tomatoes and potatoes, carrots contained the highest amount of pectin.

Other fruits high in pectin include: apples, bananas, peaches, raspberries, blackberries and apricots. Peas, green beans, sweet potatoes and tomatoes also offer a high amount of pectin.

Though it should come as no surprise given that pectin is naturally found in fruits and vegetables that are considered healthy for you, a January 2014 article in the Polish journal, Hygiene and Experimental Medicine, points out pectin has many health promoting properties.

These properties include lowering cholesterol, delaying gastric emptying and a strong mucoadhesion capacity in the gastrointestinal tract to protect it from microbial invasion during periods of stress.

You’ll also find pectin in a number of processed foods since the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics lists it as a food additive. It is a thickener and used in a variety of products.

Pectin is related to pectinase. Pectinase is the enzyme that breaks down pectin, meaning that all foods that contain pectin are also foods with pectinase. Plants start to produce pectinase during the ripening process. If you’re looking for foods with pectinase, opt for ripe produce.

According to a June 2016 study published in 3 Biotech, pectinases are eco-friendly enzymes that are widely used in varying industries from food and wine, tea and the paper industry. Relying on enzymatic action is preferred over using chemical methods because it saves energy, is more specific and less aggressive. Foods with pectinase provide a natural source of enzymes.

Though more research is needed to discover additional strains of microbial pectinases, to produce pectinase in combination with other enzymes and to determine which combination of enzymes is most effective for a particular application. Once determined, however, using pectinases will greatly decrease production costs for various applications.

Difference Between Pectin and Gelatin

Where pectin is a plant-based thickener and food additive, according to MedlinePlus, gelatin is an animal-based product. Gelatin is made of collagen from cartilage and bone. Pectin can generally be substituted for gelatin in recipes that you wish to make vegetarian or vegan, but gelatin is more versatile and can be used in a wider variety of foods.

Gelatin is used as a supplement to lose weight, strengthen bones, joints and fingernails, to shorten recovery after exercise or sports injury and to improve hair quality. At this point in time, however, there is insufficient evidence to support that it is an effective option for any of these uses.

While pectin may have a number of healthy qualities, more research is needed to determine how or if taking it in supplement form will provide any benefit. There is some speculation that drinking a mixture of pectin and grape juice will help treat arthritis pain, but according to the Arthritis Foundation, there is no evidence to support this claim.

What Is Pectin?

We wouldn’t have gummy candy – or jam without it.

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By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.

If this is the first time you’ve tried your hand at preserving fruits, pectin may be new to you. Here you’ll learn where pectin comes from, how to choose the right type of pectin and how to use it.

What Is Pectin? What About Fruit Pectin?

Pectin is a complex starch derived from plants. It’s used to gel foods like fruit preserves – jams and jellies – and gummy candy. While there are vegetables that are high in pectin, most pectin sold in grocery stores comes from fruit like citrus peel, and for this reason, it’s sometimes labeled as fruit pectin.

You can buy pectin in the supermarket, but sometimes you’ll naturally release it from fruit while making jam. For example, when you make marmalade, you’ll leach pectin out from orange peels as you slowly simmer it with water and sugar.

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What Is Pectin Used For?

Pectin is most commonly used in jam and jelly-making, particularly with fruit that is low in pectin. You can tell if a fruit is low in pectin if it’s squishy: strawberries, for example, are low in pectin, while apples are high in pectin. In addition, ripe fruits are lower in pectin than less ripe fruits.

Pectin is the gelling ingredient in many clear glazes for the beautiful fruit tarts you see in a bakery. Using heated, strained apricot jam or jelly is a good alternative when you want to glaze a tart, because these spreads are high in pectin.

It’s also a common ingredient listed on store-bought gummy candies, because it helps the gummies become firm and hold their shape.

Finally, pectin has uses beyond the culinary world. It’s added to laxatives and throat lozenges to bolster their fiber. And it’s the glue used to hold the tobacco leaves in cigars.

What Is the Difference Between Pectin and Gelatin?

Pectin and gelatin both have gelling properties. The main difference is that pectin is vegan and vegetable-derived, while gelatin is non-vegan and collagen derived.

Both pectin and gelatin can easily clump. Avoid clumping by whisking them either into dry granulated sugar or cold water before using.

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The Five Types of Pectin

Instant Pectin is very fine powder that doesn’t need heat to activate it. It’s commonly used for freezer jam. If you want a fun project with kids with very quick results, this variety of pectin is the way to go.

HM Pectin needs sugar and acid to set and it’s the most commonly available type of pectin in the supermarket. Sometimes you won’t see HM pectin labeled as such, instead you’ll see it labeled as rapid set pectin or slow set pectin. Rapid set pectin is best for jams and preserves with chunky fruits (it sets quickly, suspending the chunks evenly throughout). Slow set pectin is great for clear jellies made from fruit juice.

LM Pectin is used in sugar-free or low-sugar jams and jellies because it can gel without sugar and acid. This variety of pectin is commonly used in commercial food production.

Pectin NH is an apple pectin used for fruit glazes because you can heat it and chill it repeatedly.

Apple Pectin is derived solely from apple peels and cores; this is the variety of pectin that’s used for medical purposes.

How to Make Jam Without Pectin

1. Cook the jam low and slow. Because all fruit contains some pectin, cooking fruit with sugar and a bit of lemon juice at a low simmer for a long time will yield jam. The long slow cook will reduce the water content of the fruit and the lemon juice will help draw the naturally occurring pectin out of the fruit.

2. Use underripe, firm fruits. As we discussed, underripe and firm fruits have the highest pectin content. Plums, oranges, currants, gooseberries, quince, apricots and cranberries are at the top of the list for natural pectin.

What Is a Substitute for Pectin?

Cornstarch and gelatin are good gelling agents that could stand in for pectin. Alternatively, adding acid and some citrus peel to a pot of jam will add natural pectin to jam you’re making.

What is Pectin? Everything You Need to Know about this Soluble Fiber

With novel sources and functions for multiple markets, pectin is a key ingredient to watch.

What is Pectin? Everything You Need to Know about this Soluble Fiber

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Pectin production continues to offer expanding market opportunities.

With plant-based ingredients and gummy dietary supplements on-trend and in high-demand, pectin has been gaining attention of late as formulators pivot away from gelatin to appeal to broader audiences.

And as fresh fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols and polysaccharides continue to win merit as natural health boosters, there is growing recognition of the importance of plant-based functional fibers.

Pectin, a soluble fiber best known as a gelling agent and widely used in jams, jellies, marmalade and fruit conserves, has quickly become an essential part of the global ingredient and dietary supplement markets. With novel sources and applications for gummies, functional foods, cosmetics, edible films and coatings as well as pharmaceuticals, pectin is a “must watch” ingredient for industrial use.

Traditionally sourced from apple pomace, a byproduct of the juice industry, today’s commercial market has migrated toward raw citrus peel as a major industrial pectin source. Common food applications include oil, egg and fat replacement in baked goods, glazes and fruit fillings, fruit and dairy-based beverages, gummy confectioneries, condiments and baby foods.

Chemical Properties
A naturally occurring long-chain polysaccharide, pectin is found in the cell walls of plants and works as an intercellular adhesive to hold plant cells together. The chemical structure of pectin varies according to its source. Although apple and citrus peel are the most traditional raw foods used for pectin extraction, researchers continue to test alternate sources and extraction methods to meet industrial needs.

Industrial pectin products are extracted from natural plant-based raw materials at low pH using an addition of mineral acid to create controlled acidity. The commercial products are subsequently dried and milled into a powder with the possible addition of sugar and/or dextrose to meet functionality standards. Liquid pectin is also sold commercially and is sometimes favored for its quick-action thickening abilities. However, specific functional properties, including stabilization and gel formation, depend on the source of raw materials as well as extraction and processing conditions.

Pectin occurs in fruit in more than one form, including: protopectin sourced from hard immature fruits such as green apples or the peel of citrus fruits; the soluble pectin from more mature fruit; and pectin acid derived from over-ripe fruit. Pectin is a carbohydrate whereas pectinase refers to any of the various enzymes that break down pectin. It is also known as a gelling agent because it creates bonds with water and with itself. It is one of the most versatile stabilizers available, making it an essential additive for a variety of applications. The FDA recognized pectin as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) and allows it for use in all non-standardized foods.

Pectins are typically categorized into groups according to the degree of esterification and amidation. These include high methoxyl (HM) pectins and low methoxyl pectins (LM), which can gel at higher pH levels and have lower sugar requirements, making them suitable for low-calorie options. Amidated pectin (LMA), also considered to be a type of low methyl pectin, contains amides, which are compounds derived from ammonia. Pectin is also an emulsifying agent (i.e., it is soluble in both fat and water with the ability to be uniformly dispersed in water as an emulsion). As a stabilizer, pectin maintains emulsions in stable form. Stabilizing pectins are used for stabilizing acidic protein products such as yogurt, whey and soy drinks to protect the products from heat processing and support long shelf life.

Innovative Sources & Applications
Although the majority of industrial pectin applications are sourced from apple pomace and citrus peel, ongoing research has revealed a growing number of novel sources of pectin. These include soy and sunflower pectins as well as pectins derived from more exotic indigenous fruits and vegetables.

A study published this year in the Journal of Pharmaceutics reported the efficacy of cocoa pod husk pectin as a versatile pharmaceutical excipient, nutraceutical and antibacterial agent. Citing the growing interest in the use of plant-derived bioactive compounds such as citrus fruits, modified citrus pectin and apple pectin, the study noted that plant polysaccharides such as cocoa pectin are generally chemically stable, non-toxic, readily available, renewable and a rich source of macro and micronutrients. The study underscored the potential of cocoa pectin as a useful health promotion polymer.

Additional alternative pectin sources include sugar beets, mango, pumpkin and squash as well as lesser known sources such as jicama, cactus, tejocote pulp (native to Mexico—the fruit resembles a crabapple), passion fruit and prickly pear, with mango and jicama pulp offering the highest yields. Unripened sugar palm meat was also found to have high pectin yield potential. Banana skins, ambarella peel (native to Polynesia) and chickpea husks have also been explored as alternative sources of gelling material.

Extensive research on the applicability of soy pectin found this alternative to be less expensive than imported fruit pectins, however, soy carries high risks for GMOs. Novel pectins also offer potential applications for cosmetics, personal care products and pharmaceuticals.

Recognized as GRAS, vegan, non-allergenic and gluten-free, pectin has been widely adopted throughout the natural products industry. Many commercial forms have been standardized by adding dextrose and sugars to a constant grade of functionality. Manufacturers seek out pectin to ensure improved flavor release, increased mouth feel, delicate texture and controlled viscosity. In certain applications it is water binding and its textural functionality is better than other commonly used fibers. Used to improve pulp stability in juice-based drinks and acidic protein beverages, pectin also gives a good gel structure and “clean bite” to confectioneries and jellies. Pectin is virtually odorless, has a neutral pH and flavor and a high content of dietary fiber and oil release. The use of pectin results in improved yield and flavor release as well as longer shelf-life. Researchers suggest that adding pectin to emulsions may enhance nutraceutical performance and increase nutrient bioavailability.

Pectin is commonly used for milk drinks, soy drinks, whey products and yogurt drinks, stirred bottom-laid yogurts and instant drinks. Beverages can be enriched with dietary fiber without a major change in their viscosity. Citrus pectin products are used to create new and diversified flavor profiles with applications for seasonings, sauces and marinades. Other applications include nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, personal care products, disinfectants, room deodorizers and cleaning products.

Edible Packaging, Films & Coatings
New and exciting applications for pectins include edible films and coatings. According to Carol Zweep, manager of packaging and food labeling at Guelph Food Technology Center in Canada, edible films and coatings provide innovative, sustainable packaging. With emphasis on the importance of choosing edible films with acceptable color, odor, taste, flavor and texture, edible coatings protect products from oxygen, outside aroma, oil and moisture. In addition to adding vitamins, minerals, nutrients, flavors and food energy to products, edible coatings can also act as carriers for functional ingredients such as antioxidants and antimicrobials.

With widespread interest in the elimination of packaging waste, edible packaging offers a non-toxic, biodegradable option with potential to replace many commercial uses of plastics. Because pectin is known to be low-cost, economical, easy to source and renewable, it is a popular option. Edible films formulated from food wastes may effectively decrease environmental pollution while improving recyclability of packaging materials. Thus the use of edible films offers an excellent solution to problems associated with waste disposal and packaging materials.

Dietary Supplements & Health Benefits
Fresh fruits and vegetables are important for optimal health and a top choice for digestible fiber. As an alternative, apple fiber pectin and modified citrus pectin supplements and powders are an emerging market. Pectin is a rich source of nutrients and fiber used to promote effective elimination of food through the digestive tract. Although many manufacturers and consumers seek out pectin as a functional fiber, side benefits of pectin supplementation include reduction of cholesterol, balance of glucose levels, improvement in glycemic control for diabetics, reduction of blood pressure, support for cardiovascular health, cancer prevention as well as an overall improvement in gastrointestinal health including relief from diarrhea and constipation.

ProPectin, a product of VitaPro International in Bulgaria, was initially developed to combat the side effects of nuclear radiation contamination. Promoted as one of the highest quality, highly concentrated and most potent apple pectin supplements on the market, ProPectin contains 100% pharmaceutical-grade apple pectin “sourced from some of the highest quality apples in the world.” The product is cited as helping to decrease the level of dangerous radioactive material and heavy metal poisoning. When the pectin is absorbed it binds to harmful materials and assists in flushing them from the body. Research on ProPectin also found reduced cholesterol as well as beneficial effects for subjects with type 2 diabetes.

Other leading pectin supplement formulas include Solgar 100% Apple Pectin, Natural Factors Super Strength Rich Apple Pectin Concentrate with green tea extract in vegetarian capsules for intestinal cleansing and body detox, as well as Puritan’s Pride Grapefruit Pectin and Source Naturals Grapefruit Pectin Powder. Grapefruit pectin has been recommended to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease without altering diet or lifestyle. Country Life Acidophilus with Pectin in vegetarian capsules combines pectin and probiotics to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestinal tract. Recommended after prolonged use of antibiotics or extreme diarrhea when beneficial bacteria may have been significantly reduced, pectin as a prebiotic provides the nutrients needed to support healthy probiotic colonization of the gut.

The American Cancer Association recommends that adults eat five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day to reduce cancer risk. Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) may be ideal for those wishing to supplement citrus intake as a preventive health measure. By definition, MCP differs from conventional citrus pectin due to its molecular structure. Pectins can be modified to shorten the molecular chain, creating smaller polysaccharide fragments that are easily absorbed and utilized in the body.

Researchers have shown that cellular and cardiovascular health are adversely affected by elevated levels of galectin-3 and that maintaining healthy galactic-3 levels is important for wellness and longevity. MCP has been found to successfully bind and block excess galectin-3 and to chelate toxic heavy metals such as mercury and lead. Noteworthy products include EcoNugenics PectaSol-C promoted as the only clinically researched Modified Citrus Pectin known to support healthy cellular activity, boost immunity and promote healthy galectin-3 levels. Nutricology Modified Citrus Pectin Powder offers an additional MCP option.

Leading Manufacturers
Leading ingredient manufacturers in Europe and Asia including CP Kelco, Naturex, Cargill, Herbstreith & Fox, and Yantai Andre Pectin in China have continued to dominate the U.S. pectin market where distributors claim that domestic pectin products are unavailable. Sourcing from Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Brazil, Mexico, China and India, pectin continues to be in high demand for the functional ingredients market. Smaller North American distributors include J.F. Hydrocolloids, Inc., Pacific Pectin and The Green Labs.

In December 2015, CP Kelco, a leader in hydrocolloid manufacturing and global pectin production announced the completion of its Brazil plant expansions and the company’s intention to boost pectin production to meet global demand. According to Susanne Sörgel, strategic platform director for CP Kelco’s pectin product line, the investment in production expansion shows the company’s “strong commitment to advancing pectin’s use as a high performance ingredient … both in developed economies and emerging markets.” The company continues to see “tremendous opportunity and growth for pectin in all global markets” due to increased consumer preference for nature-based, high-quality ingredients in their foods and products, she added.

Cargill, Minneapolis, MN, offers one of the widest ranges of commercially available pectin, utilizing state-of-the-art production processes. In August 2015, Cargill acquired FMC’s citrus pectin operations in Sicily, Italy with the intention of expanding pectin production to offer “label-friendly,” naturally sourced ingredients that can be easily recognized by the everyday consumer. Cargill’s pectin priorities include meeting consumer demand and introducing vegan gelatin replacements. Cargill’s Texturizing Solutions feature pectin both as a direct ingredient and as part of a functional blend.

Naturex, a global leader in specialty plant-based ingredients with head offices in France relies on pectin production from Obipektin in Switzerland and Pektowin in Poland. Specializing in apple and citrus pectins and known for innovative applications, I Drink, one of their newest offerings, supports the theme of “clean label, natural and healthy.” Promoting a natural boost to the immune system using echinacea, elderberry and goji, the product uses specific apple pectins to enhance mouth feel, giving more body and volume to the beverage.

Herbstreith & Fox in Germany, sometimes known as the pectin specialists, has been manufacturing pectin since 1934. With a worldwide distribution network, the manufacturer specializes in food, dietary supplement, pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications.

J.F. Hydrocolloids, Inc., a privately owned distribution company based in Illinois, offers a wide range of GMO-free citrus peel pectin and pectin fiber as part of its comprehensive selection of high quality natural hydrocolloids distributed to the North American food, beverage and non-food industries.

The Need for Organic Pectin
Production of certified organic pectin is needed to meet market demand. Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health and Wellness survey revealed that consumers want healthy foods and are willing to pay more for them. A majority are choosing whole, minimally processed, unadulterated foods—favoring real foods and ingredients as opposed to synthetic and artificial. Functional foods high in fiber (36%), protein (32%), whole grains (30%) or fortified with calcium (30%), vitamins (30%) or minerals (29%) that can reduce disease or promote good health also ranked high. Additionally, 77% of the consumers surveyed said that they want to eat healthier with a focus on beneficial ingredients. Vitamins, minerals, super foods and nutrient-rich foods ranked high as healthy food priorities, reflecting the growth in organic food sales to $35.9 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association.

The Nielsen survey also pointed to consumer concerns about the origins of food and ingredient sources. Consumers want to avoid artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, growth hormones, antibiotics, irradiation, sewage sludge and GMOs, as well as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. Because current regulatory guidelines do not require that conventional products meet the same standards as certified organic, conventional and natural products may be at risk for these contaminants.

Despite the fact that the global pectin market has shown consistent growth with widespread use in all categories, lack of availability of certified organic pectin means a predominance of a non-organic ingredient in organic products. According to the International Pectin Producers Association, “organic raw materials are currently not available either in a quality or quantity that could be the basis for industrial production of commercial organic pectin products.”

In the U.S., the use of pectin in processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic” is subject to USDA National Organic Program (NOP) regulations. The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances features non-organic pectin on the list of “non-organically produced agricultural products allowed in organic foods.” However, according to the National Organic Standards Board, certified organic pectin must be used if available. This ruling has led to widespread organic industry use of “organic compliant” pectin (i.e., non-organic pectin that is non-amidated, non-GMO and free from radiation and sewage sludge). This ruling also suggests that any additional additives, such as dextrose sourced from corn and added sugar, must also be non-GMO and, ideally, certified organic if available.

One other concern for organic manufacturers and consumers is that pectin may act as a hidden non-organic ingredient in organic products in many categories. Pectin labeling does not always specify the source of the pectin or specify that the pectin is non-GMO. Pectin supplements score better in this regard due to clear labeling standards.

Sustainable Production
Today’s industrial pectin production offers a clean and elegant solution to address the environmental hazards of fruit waste, suggesting that effective utilization of fruit pomace has enormous potential for value-added functional ingredients and increased profit for manufacturers.

A study by the Association of Food Scientists and Technologists in Mysore, India revealed that only 1% of the apple pomace produced as a byproduct of the juice industry is currently being utilized. Although agro-industrial wastes are mainly composed of complex polysaccharides that serve as nutrients for microbial growth and production of enzymes, fruit waste, and specifically apple pomace, can be converted into edible products because the pomace is a rich source of carbohydrates, crude fiber, minerals and other nutrients. Conversely, non-utilization of fruit waste causes environmental hazards, acute air pollution, contamination of ground water and destruction of aquatic life.

Conclusion
Pectin production continues to offer expanding market opportunities. Novel sources, new applications as well as certified organic pectin production suggest a potential niche market that addresses consumer demand for health promoting foods, supply chain transparency and accurate labeling. Sustainable solutions to the problem of food waste may also be market drivers. For manufacturers looking for a profitable, innovative and sustainable ingredient portfolio and sustainable business strategy, fruit pectin, including certified organic, may be the future trend for sustainable functional fiber.

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