Cellulose gum is a common food additive used to thicken and stabilize a variety of foods. Food gums harness the properties of other substances found in nature to impart useful characteristics in food. Food gums can help keep foods and beverages stable so nutrients remain mixed, ensure that oil and water based ingredients don’t separate and help produce a consistent texture that consumers expect from certain foods.
Cellulose gum is produced from the structural parts of certain plants, primarily trees or cotton. Cellulose gum sources are farmed sustainably and processed using a form of acetic acid and salt. Acetic acid is a mild acid which is a main component of vinegar. After mixing the cotton or wood with acetic acid and salt, the mixture is filtered and dried to create a fine powder—the cellulose gum. Cellulose gum is very useful as only a small amount needs to be added to foods to maintain moisture or increase texture and thickness. As a result, you will often find it listed near the end of the ingredients list in foods.