Reducing sugar consumption is a goal shared by consumers around the world.
Over half (53%) of respondents cited “eat less sugar” as their preferred method of weight-loss in Euromonitor’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition Survey in 2020. Numerous ingredient companies offered sweetener options to help food and beverage developers reduce or eliminate added sugar at the IFT FIRST annual meeting and expo held July 10-13 in Chicago.
In addition to familiar sweeteners such as erythritol and sucralose, exhibitors at IFT FIRST offered newer sweeteners, including allulose and novel spins on stevia.
Allulose is Keto- and Ice Cream-Friendly
Consumers are seeing allulose in more foods and beverages these days because it offers a similar taste and texture to sugar (sucrose) but with about 10% of the calories found in sugar.
Allulose is keto-friendly, low-carb, and acceptable for those with diabetes as it has a negligible impact on blood glucose or insulin levels. As a rare sugar, allulose is found in limited quantities in nature such as figs and raisins.
“In 2019, the FDA took allulose from added sugar content on the nutrition label and exploded demand for allulose.” Alvarado Velasco, Dairy Category Manager, Tate & Lyle told The Food Institute. “Consumers are becoming educated about what they’re putting in their bodies.” and looking to reduce sugar and add fiber to their diets, Velasco said.
Tate & Lyle had successfully filed a citizen’s petition with the US Food and Drug Administration to remove allulose from the Total sugars and Added sugars content of Nutrition Facts panel. Unlike “high-intensity” sweeteners such as sucralose and stevia, allulose has solids (like sugar) that contribute to browning and baking, as well as offering bulking properties for ice cream.
About 90% of plant-based ice cream has allulose according to Velasco. At IFT FIRST, Tate & Lyle sampled Oat Soft Serve sweetened with its DOLCIA PRIMA Liquid Allulose.
Incredo Sugar’s Sugar Reduction Solution
DouxMatok, an Israeli food-tech company working on the development of efficient nutrition and flavor delivery technologies of food products, brought its Incredo Sugar sugar reduction solution to the Chicago event.
The company calls Incredo Sugar “a first-of-its kind sugar reduction solution based on real cane sugar” that “improves the efficiency of sugar delivery and dissolution to the sweet taste receptors, allowing for higher concentration of sucrose around the receptors and enhancing the perception of sweetness with substantially less sugar”.
DouxMatok says that the patented (with 24 granted patents) Incredo Sugar technology allows food developers to reduce sugar content by 30-50% without using high intensity sweeteners or sugar alcohols. In January, DouxMatok announced a strategic commercial partnership with Blommer Chocolate Company, the largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier in North America, to produce and sell a portfolio of reduced-sugar chocolate products.
Advances in Stevia
Cargill brought its new EverSweet + ClearFlo sweetener to the show. The company states that by combining its EverSweet stevia sweetener and its ClearFlo natural flavor the duo can boost stevia solubility, enable higher concentrations of EverSweet in solution, allow the high-intensity sweetener to dissolve in water at ambient temperatures, and reduce sweetness linger to offer a more sugar-like experience. Because EverSweet + ClearFlo can be used at much higher concentrations and remains stable through transport, the solution can be used to make concentrates and syrups, and then shipped to bottlers.
Ingredion showcased several stevia products under the PureCircle brand at the show. In 2020, the company acquired PureCircle Limited, the world’s leading producer of plant-based stevia sweeteners and flavors for the food and beverage industry. Fermented Sugarcane Reb M is the latest addition to the company’s stevia portfolio that includes stevia from stevia leaf extract and bioconversion technologies.
Although the Rebaudioside M (Reb M molecule (with no bitter aftertaste compared to its more plentiful cousin Reb A) is found in very small quantities in the stevia plant, the company can mass produce Fermented Sugarcane Reb M through a patented fermenting process, using sugarcane and converting it into a zero-calorie sweetener.
Virginia Lee is a food and drinks trends market researcher. She has advised companies on innovation and market entry opportunities in consumer-packaged goods at Euromonitor International, Brightfield Group, and Innova Market Insights. Connect with Virginia on Twitter and Instagram at @VirginiaALee.