Fact sheet

Binding syrups for bars

Need to boost your binding syrup and bar formulations? Ingredion's SOLUTION GURUS™ answer top questions.

Whether using them for breakfast, post-workout or for a convenient meal replacement, on-the-go consumers have made bars of all types a popular category for product innovation. Our food systems experts often field questions about using stabilizers and thickening systems to make an ideal nutritional, granola or cereal bar. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about bar formulations:

"What gum should I use for a binding syrup?"

In product development, one main goal for a snack or meal bar is to keep all the ingredients bound together. In many bars, a general binder is needed, while in granola bars specifically, the film-forming ability of a binding system is the key to cohesiveness and stability through processing and transit. For most granola bars we recommend our ADD-HERE® proprietary line of hydrocolloids that replaces the texture and binding qualities needed in bars, but with significantly less sugar in addition to other functional benefits. Our TIC PRETESTED® Gum Arabic FT powder is also suitable for creating binding syrups.

"How should I incorporate the gums into my product?"

Because sugar can compete with the gums for water in the mixing tank, it’s often helpful to disperse the gum in the tank and allow it to hydrate before adding sugar.

After the mixture is heated to boiling, while still hot, the binding syrup should be mixed into the dry ingredients and the bars should be allowed to cool in their desired shapes. Most of our hydrocolloid systems will work well in both chewy and crunchy granola bars. The major difference between the two is that crunchy bars will be put through a baking step, as opposed to chewy bars that must instead go through a drying step.

"I am formulating a reduced sugar granola bar. What textural properties are important, and what binding options do I have?"

Replacing sweetness can be accomplished with high-intensity sweeteners like aspartame or stevia, but what is not easy to replace is the texture, stability, gloss, stickiness and film forming attributes sugar provides and that are necessary to form and hold separate ingredients together. Dissolved sugar provides these because it can dry into a solid, and these solid properties are what bind the parts of the dry ingredients together.

In reduced sugar bars, Ingredion food system experts consider texture terminology attributes that are important to monitor and maintain. For cereal bars, these include but are not limited to the following:

Texture terminology Definitions Examples

Awareness of particulates

The amount of particles (grit, grainy, seeds, skins) perceived in the mass

Chocolate truffle center vs.  chewy granola bar with chocolate chips


The force with which the sample ruptures when placing the sample between the molars and biting down at an even rate

Corn muffin vs. hard boiled (glass) candy

Moisture absorption

Amount of saliva absorbed by sample during chew down perceived as the degree of change in mouth moistness

Shoe string licorice vs. pound cake


The loudness of the sample during chewdown

Sliced white bread vs tortilla chips

Surface roughness

The amount of particles perceived in the surface

Water dessert gel vs thin crisp rye wafer

Knowing the desired textures for your application, we can then tailor a synergistic solution utilizing the following recommended binder systems for cereal and granola bars.

Ingredion gum solution for cereal and granola bars Special features

ADD-HERE® 3200 hydrocolloid system

  • Developed specifically for reduced sugar systems
  • Provides uperior binding syrup strength for crunchy baked granola bars and reduced sugar baked crunchy granola bars
  • Improves particle binding through its film-forming properties

  • Developed specifically for reduced sugar systems
  • Synergizes with polyol syrups to improve binding syrup strength in reduced sugar granola bars
  • Synergistic with glycerin after heating to form a very effective binding syrup.

  • Certified organic replacement for corn syrup as a binder

"My bars are drying out. What can I do to retain moisture in my bar?"

The softness in a chewy granola bar is often a function of the moisture retention properties of the bar; the more moisture that is retained, the softer the bar will be. To aid in moisture retention, we recommend that you blend our dry mixtures into the dry ingredients before mixing into the syrup. 

Contact our food systems experts for your bar formulations

To speak with our SOLUTION GURUS™ about formulating for your specific texture, stability and nutrition goals, just chat with us or call 1-800-713-0208.