Since most gums are naturally derived from sources such as tree exudates, seeds, and seaweed, they are subject to planting, harvesting or gathering before processing.
Like most other natural ingredients, the market price of gums is determined by conditions that affect planting, harvesting and processing. Weather, cost of labor, and the vagaries of politics, often determine the availability and cost of the finished ingredient. The cost of oil also is a factor, as it is in all aspects of the food processing industry.
In order to reduce the impact of any or all of the possible variables which might move pricing to the higher side, Gum Technology encourages contract purchasing. Our technology has always enabled us to develop stabilizing systems which are functionally compatible with many of the commodity type gums. These replacements, which might combine two or more gums, have been effective in aiding us to help our valued customers through difficult pricing and availability cycles. Many of these replacement systems result in significant savings, in some cases up to 50%, vs. a commodity type gum.
For example, when Gum Tragacanth pricing started moving drastically upward and good quality material with low micro levels became difficult to find, Coyote Brand Stabilizer XAC-0810 was specifically developed to replace Gum Tragacanth in some applications.
Our practice of partnering with our growers and manufacturers, our technology and our business philosophy are key elements in protecting against difficult markets. Ultimately, these business practices are in place for Gum Technology to partner with you our customers.
Guar Gum Prices at Historic Highs
Historically, guar prices had fluctuated a few cents either up or down depending on monsoon conditions and crop yields; these fluctuations were always relatively insignificant. The new increases in cost are not the result of drought or poor crop yields, but are due to the increased demands of the drilling industry which is using guar in fracking drilling to obtain natural gas. The guar is used as part of the "mud" which is shot into the rock formations to make them crack and release the gas. Guar gum cross links with some of the other chemicals used to create the "sludge" which is shot into the bedrock. No other gums that we know of will crosslink in the same manner. Not even, the other galactomannans such as tara, fenugreek or locust bean gums.
High guar gum pricing is certainly a game changer. For manufacturers, the rising cost for such a widely used and highly functional thickening agent, hurts the bottom line.
As we have always done for the past 31 years, Gum Technology has adapted to ever changing challenges in our industry, relying on our technological expertise to develop stabilizing systems to replace hydrocolloids which have become problematic.
We highly recommend testing guar replacements. Our lab technicians are available to discuss your requirements and based upon your application(s), recommend (or even develop) a guar gum substitute.