Gelling Agents, Thickeners and Stabilisers

The functions of these substances is fairly self explanatory:

  • Gelling agents gel foods, i.e. they give shape and structure
  • Thickeners or thickening agents make foods thicker
  • Stabilisers help to maintain the physical and textural properties of foodstuffs through their production, transport, storage and cooking

Roll the mouse over the image to see how a stabiliser can help when drinks are stored.

chocolate milk

Drinks, like this chocomilk, contain cocoa powder that can form a sediment when the drink is on the supermarket shelf. Stabilisers help to prevent this.


Gelling agents, thickeners and stabilisers are used in many foods. Move the mouse over the picture for more information.

photo of food jar of jam low fat spread icecream dessert vegetarian sausages jelly desserts

Find out more about the origins
of gelling agents, thickeners
and stabilisers