The present opinion article discusses how polysaccharide structures can be used in both food and pharmaceutical formulations. We distinguish two regions depending on moisture content where polysaccharides form structures with distinct functional properties. Some trends in key areas of active research are assessed and in particular edible films, encapsulation, polycrystalline polysaccharides, protein-polysaccharide coacervation and fluid gels. We unveil that the physicochemical principles that are shared across the food and pharmaceutical disciplines provide a great opportunity for cross-disciplinary collaboration. We finally argue that such co-operation will help tackling polysaccharide functionality issues that are encountered in both areas.