A reformulation of Tate & Lyle Sugars’ icing sugar has resulted in a backlog of complaints from bakers.

The company has changed its caking agent in the product, producing what bakers have deemed a “grainy and gritty” icing texture.

Christine Flinn, accredited demonstrator from the British Sugarcraft Guild (BSG), said she noticed the recipe change in January, and contacted the company to complain. The company said it had switched from E341 to maize starch as an anti-caking agent as it improved its keeping quality.

She said: “I think it creates a grainy buttercream which looks foul. You’ve got a sugar that doesn’t pass through a sieve, creating very matt icing. As far as royal icing goes it’s a non-starter.”

A Tate & Lyle Sugars spokesperson said: “In January, after extensive testing and customer feedback, we changed our anti-caking additive in our icing sugar from E341 (tricalcium phosphate) to maize starch. This decision was taken after both in-house and external testing showed that maize starch greatly reduces the possibility of caking when icing sugar has been stored in less than ideal conditions, and therefore improves the sugar’s keeping qualities.

“We continue to fulfil orders of icing sugar with E341 anti-caking agent to a small number of our manufacturing customers in circumstances where their compliance with ingredient labelling requirements would make a mid-contract ingredient change extremely difficult.”

Posts on the BSG facebook page show numerous bakers, both professional and home-bakers, complaining about the product.

Elizabeth Barrett from For the Love of Cakes said: “I had a big sack of it, and it was like it had got damp as well. I thought I hadn’t sealed the bag up enough, so glad it isn’t me. I was sieving it twice.”