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hydrocolloids pectin


Cargill's offer

Cargill offers one of the widest ranges of commercially available pectin, employing proven and state-of-the-art production processes. Together with the company's recognized formulation expertise, this enables the formulation of commercial pectin products tailored to very specific needs in different applications.

Most of Cargill’s pectin products are available under the trade name Unipectine™, which is well known in the industry and has been synonymous with high quality for many years. Unipectine™ products offer fully functional flexibility regarding gelation, setting speed, viscosity, mouthfeel and stabilization, while ensuring full controllability and consistent final performance.

Pectin for innovative textures

Pectin is a natural component of plants. Its functionality has long been used in preparing jams and jellies from various fruits. Pectin was first isolated in the 1820s, but has been industrially produced only since the early 20th century.

Pectin occurs in many fruits, but is especially abundant in citrus fruits and apples. These plants contain in their tissue a mixture of pectin and cellulose which gives the plant its strength and flexibility. Many aspects of plant physiology and plant pathology involve pectin.

Today, commercial pectin is used in diverse applications such as jams, jellies, yogurt, acid dairy drinks and confectionery. As a nature derived  product with acknowledged nutritional benefits, pectin is in high demand : in the food industry, where new applications are constantly being discovered, and increasingly in pharmaceutical and cosmetics applications.


Category Applications

Soft, diet & fruit juices,Juice drink concentrates, Nutritional fruit drinks, Flavored waters

Confectionery Fruit paste (HM pectin), Gelled articles (HM or LM pectin), Fillings (HM or LM pectin)

Traditional jams, Low calorie jams, Fruit preparations for yogurts, Preparations for bakery and pastry fillings,Preparations for fruit, fruit cream-based desserts and water jellies, Glazes, Reformed fruit & fruit snacks, Jam sugars (home made jam)

Convenience food Beverage powders, Ketchup & tomato sauces, Dressings & emulsified sauces, Marinades, Margarine & spreads, Dessert & food powders
Diary Stabilization of acid dairy drinks, Yogurts


More information


Pectin for use in food is defined as a polymer containing at least 65% galacturonic acid units. The acid groups may either be free or be methylesterified, sodium, potassium, calcium or ammonium salts. In some commercial pectins amide groups also may be present.

The regular structure is interrupted by the presence of L-rhamnose, which causes deviations called "pectic elbows". The L-rhamnose is linked by carbons 1 and 2.

Galacturonic acid

Galacturonic acid scheme

The proportion of the galacturonic acids that are in the methyl ester form, is called the “degree of esterification” (DE) or “degree of methoxylation” and is quoted as a percentage. DE affects the behavior of pectin.

High methoxyl (HM) pectins are defined as those with a DE equal to or above 50, while low methoxyl (LM) pectins have a DE of less than 50. LM pectins can be acid or alkali-treated. LM pectins also can be either amidated (LMA) or non-amidated (LMC).

The % level of substitution of the amide group is defined as the “degree of amidation” (DA) and also is very important to the performance of a pectin.

DE and DA provide a good classification of pectins, and while these values can help identify the expected behavior of a pectin, additional properties are more suited to define its functionality, e.g. SAG, setting temperature and viscosity.

In the fruit, pectin has a very high degree of esterification (DE). During the acid hydrolysis used to extract it, some of the esters are converted into the free acid form, or saponified. By careful control of this process, HM pectins with different degrees of esterification are obtained. The higher the DE, the faster the setting rate, so depending on the DE these pectins are classified as Rapid Set (RS), or Slow Set (SS) for example.

In general, LM pectins can be obtained either by acid or alkaline hydrolysis. However, amidated LM pectins can only be produced by hydrolyzing under alkaline conditions using an ammonia solution. Under these conditions, some of the esters are converted to amide groups, a process which alters the pectin's rheology and calcium reactivity.

Correct preparation of the pectin solution is a key initial preparatory step. Incomplete dissolution is a frequent cause of unsatisfactory performance. A pectin which is easy to handle must have the following characteristics: good dispersibility, high dissolution rate and maximum solubility.

Pectin solutions are stable under acid conditions (between pH 3.2 and 4.5), even at high temperatures. They also are stable for several hours at room temperature under more alkaline conditions, but degrade rapidly at high temperature.

HM pectins form thermostable gels when the pH is low (less than 3.5) and the sugar concentration is high (dry matter content greater than 60%). When the dry matter is less than 60%, LM pectins have to be used. The pH and the dry matter content, more than the gel strength affect the rate of gelation. LMA pectins are generally thermoreversible. However, non-amidated LM pectins can form thermostable gels.

Gel formation is not the only function of pectins, HM pectins are excellent stabilizers of acid milk drinks. They coat the casein particles, stopping them  from aggregating to prevent sedimentation problems. LM pectins can provide a wide range of textures and rheological properties, depending on the calcium concentration and the calcium reactivity of the pectin chosen.

HM pectins also are very attractive viscosifiers for soft drinks. Here the pectin builds a similar mouthfeel to that of fruit juices, and is therefore useful in juice drinks and in low calorie or diet drinks. In addition, HM pectins have the advantage of delivering a very clean flavor release. In this case, the viscosity is created simply by the behavior of the pectin in the solution.

From a nutritional point of view, pectin is an interesting dietary fiber. Early research indicates that it has physicochemical properties which may positively influence several biomarkers that influence cardio-vascular and digestive functions. It may act as a cholesterol-lowering agent and preliminary research shows that it can impact gut health. Our scientific team will be glad to provide the necessary information.

Regulatory status

Pectin is generally regarded as a safe food substance. Its composition and use is regulated under food additive law in the EU, and it is GRAS in the USA. It is also included in the International Codex Alimentarius. Particular references include:

FAO/WHO - Codex Alimentarius

Pectins have been given an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of "not specified" by the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), and are listed on that basis in the Codex General Standard for Food Additives.

European Union

Pectin (E440 (i)) and Amidated Pectin (E440 (ii)) have both been given an ADI "not specified" by the Scientific Committee for Food. Specifications are listed in Commission Directive 98/86/EC of 11th November 1998, published in Volume 41, Issue L334 of the Official Journal. Pectins may be used under "quantum satis" conditions in most foods.   

United States

The FDA recognizes pectin as GRAS (generally recognized as safe). It may be used in all non-standardized foods and in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (21CFR 184.1588).


The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare recognizes pectin under The Japan's Specifications and Standards for Food Additives.

In other countries, food legislative authorities generally recognize pectin as an important and safe food  substance . Where regulated, permitted use levels are generally in accordance with “Good Manufacturing Practice” .

Cargill’s global team of regulatory and food law experts will be glad to provide assistance on regulatory, nutrition-related claims and food law-related issues.


The production of pectin consists of five main steps: 

  • Hydrolysis
  • Separation of liquids from solids
  • Purification
  • Recovery
  • Standardization


Production sites

Cargill started its pectin production of HM pectins in 1948 and of LM pectins in 1965. Both types of pectin were made from apple. 

Later both apple and citrus raw material were used and production has increased progressively year after year.

Today, Cargill's production facilities in France and Germany are among the most advanced in the world. Highly sophisticated manufacturing processes are used to ensure a fast and flexible response to customers' requirements.

Cargill manufactures pectin at the following locations:

  • Redon (France) ISO 9001/2008 certified – FSSC 22000/2010
  • Malchin (Germany) ISO 50001/2011 – FSSC 22000/2013 certified
  • Milazzo (Italy):  ISO 9001, ISO 14001

Certification system

Cargill's pectin products produced in Europe are Kosher and Halal certified. All regional, national and international certifications are issued by wellknown official certification bodies and available upon request.

Depth of expertise

The manufacturing of pectin in all its varieties requires a high level of production expertise. Raw material selection, production processes, formulation know-how and quality management are all key areas of expertise supported by Cargill's research and application centers.

Cargill's application experts can provide advice on using pectin in the manufacture of a wide range of applications from fruit and dairy products to sauces and marinades, and from beverages, confectionery and bakery goods to convenience foods.

Partners in success

In the Cargill pectin business, we take the time to understand your specific needs in order to provide solutions, not just products. Worldwide customers recognize this and benefit from our:

  • Thorough knowledge of the characteristic properties of pectins and all relevant processes and technologies
  • Knowledge of the specific requirements of a broad spectrum of industries
  • Highly tailored products optimized for individual application solutions
  • Products at the right time for today's manufacturing needs and tomorrow's new product success stories

Helping your business succeed by differentiating you from your competitors is our primary goal.

Creating a more sustainable pectin supply chain and production

sustainability infographic pectin

We work towards a more sustainable supply and production of our ingredients, including pectin.



Some Cargill products are only approved for use in certain geographies, end uses, and/or at certain usage levels. It is the customer's responsibility to determine, for a particular geography, that (i) the Cargill product, its use and usage levels, (ii) the customer's product and its use, and (iii) any claims made about the customer's product, all comply with applicable laws and regulations.