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Maltodextrin in the South African Food Industry

Can of energy drink

Maltodextrin is a popular and widely used ingredient in the South African food industry.  

A polysaccharide derived from starch; Maltodextrin serves as a versatile additive to many food products. It has many unique properties, including its ability to act as a thickener, stabiliser, or filler, making it a common ingredient in various food products.

In this blog we take a closer look at where and how maltodextrin is used in the food industry:

1. Beverage Industry

Energy Drinks: Maltodextrin serves as a source of quick energy due to its rapid digestion properties, making it a preferred ingredient in energy drinks.

Powdered Beverages: It's commonly found in powdered mixes for beverages, such as flavoured juices, iced teas, and sports drinks.

2. Food Processing

Thickening Agent: It’s utilised as a thickening or bulking agent in sauces, gravies, and soups – all of which are staples of the South African diet.

Stew with thick gravy

Texture Enhancer: Maltodextrin contributes to the texture and mouthfeel of various processed foods like snacks and desserts.

Maltodextrin is also used in many pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.

It is used in the pharmaceutical industry for as a binding agent in medications or as a carrier for flavours and nutrients, whilst in cosmetic products it serves as a texture modifier or encapsulating agent for various skincare and personal care items.

Health Concerns

While maltodextrin is generally regarded as safe by most regulatory bodies around the world, there are still some concerns in certain sectors due to its potential to spike blood sugar levels and occasionally its association with digestive issues for certain individuals.

In South Africa, there are ongoing discussions around healthier alternatives or clearer labelling in order to allow consumers to make more informed choices.

Consumers are seeking transparency in food labelling, pushing for clearer indications of maltodextrin content and its sources.

There is also research into natural substitutes or low-glycemic alternatives to meet the needs of health-conscious and sensitive consumers. 

Regardless of these minor concerns Maltodextrin, remains widely used due to its functionality and diverse applications which contribute significantly to the texture, taste, and shelf life of numerous food and beverage products.

Chemgrit Food is a supplier of maltodextrin. For information contact Chemgrit Food.

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