Food powders were applied on crackers that had been coated using water, oil, emulsion, sucrose, or hydrocolloid solutions. The hydrocolloids that were used include gellan gum, kappa-carrageenan, methylcellulose, gum karaya, gum tragacanth, gum arabic, guar gum, modified starch, and maltodextrin. Solutions of similar hydrophobicity to the powder gave the greatest adhesion. NaCl, barbecue (BBQ), ranch, and sour cream & onion (SC&O) seasoning showed greatest adhesion with water, cheese powder with an emulsion of 12.5% to 25% oil, and cocoa powder with oil. For NaCl, BBQ, ranch, and SC&O seasoning, hydrocolloids improved the adhesion over using water alone, with gellan gum providing the greatest adhesion. Hydrocolloid structural differences, including the presence or absence of branching, substitution of sugar units, and molecular weight affect water binding and thickening of the hydrocolloid spray that seemed to be significant factors affecting adhesion of powders to the target surface. For cheese powder, hydrocolloids were capable of replacing the oil within an emulsion while improving or maintaining the same level of adhesion, with gum arabic providing the greatest adhesion. For cocoa powder, hydrocolloid solutions were ineffective adhesives due to differences in hydrophilicity that result in insolubility. The effect of hydrocolloid concentration on adhesion was dependent both on the hydrocolloid type and the concentration that is sprayable, with 0.5% being the optimum concentration for most gums. Adhesion using sucrose solutions was determined by particle size and relative hydrophobicity. Increasing sucrose concentration decreased adhesion of smaller particles, but increased adhesion of larger particles. Adhesion of NaCl significantly increased with decreasing NaCl size using oil, water, and sucrose solutions.
Hydrocolloids can be used to replace oil and sugar to adhere powders and small particulates, such as seasonings, to a food surface while improving or maintaining the same level of adhesion. Replacement of oil and sugar by hydrocolloids would lower fat content and calories and would be of interest to the food industry. Solutions of similar hydrophobicity to the powder give the greatest adhesion; therefore, powder hydrophobicity should be considered when selecting solutions for adhesive purposes.