Gum Arabic

By Jenna Shaw

What is Gum Arabic?

Gum Arabic is a natural gum produced from the sap of the acacia tree located in the regions of the African Sahel including Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, India and Pakistan. It is mainly used as a stabilising agent emulsifier, which means that it can bind together ingredients that would normally fall apart. It is commonly used in the food industry but has properties that enable it to be used widely in the cosmetics industry as well as the printing and manufacturing industry. The gum is distinct and very unique compared to other natural gums as it is very soluble in water and has a lack of taste.

gum arabic


Where is Gum Arabic Used?

When used in painting, photography and the arts, the gum is used as a binding agent for water-based paintings as the gum binds the paint to the paper surface. The gum prevents the colours from lightening and produces a thicker body and gloss. The gum is also used in the pyrotechnics industry for fireworks.

The gum has been used for medicinal purposes to fight the symptoms of the common cold, treat eye problems, sore throats (used in cough drop lozenges), stomach and intestinal pain.

Gum Arabic has been extensively tested for human consumption and is one of the safest to digest. When used in the food industry, it is commonly used as an additive sweetener in many foods and beverages. It is also used in soft drinks to thicken the liquid, confectionery, chewing gum, jelly, dessert mixes and soup bases.

When used in baking, Gum Arabic can help cakes to rise and will also increase the natural fibre content of your cake. In bakeries you will find the gum widely sprayed on breads and pastries to give a glossy look and to help keep the moisture content increasing the product shelf life.

Gum Arabic Coated Nuts

A great example of using the gum is on varnished nuts. Here is a picture so you can see the difference between the coated (left side) and the non-coated nuts (right side). The difference is amazing and you can see the benefits and attraction the gum offers.

gum arabic


Gum Arabic can be purchased in small amounts which makes it ideal for home baking. Why not purchase some today to create that glossy finish and preserve the shelf life in your next baking adventure?

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