Sweeteners on Stage at IFT Expo 2017

With a label declaration looming, developers look for alternatives to sugar.

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

With added sugars being called out in the new Nutrition Facts panel, there’s plenty of interest in finding sweet replacements before those 2018 label changes. Some of the activity in the segment played out at the June IFT Food Expo.

Stevia remains high on the lists of many processors and sweetener suppliers. Just before the show, Russell Stover unveiled a sugar-free line of chocolates sweetened with stevia. Monk fruit is catching up fast. As plant-based sweeteners, both have natural halos. However, in most current applications, neither is used alone; most consumer products lessen, not eliminate, sugar with the addition of some stevia or monk fruit.

Archer Daniels Midland Co. (adm.com) showed both natural sweeteners at the IFT Food Expo. SweetRight stevia and VerySweet monk fruit are the result of a sourcing partnership with GLG Life Tech Corp. They can be used in a number of food and beverage products. ADM personnel note that the deal makes use of ADM’s extensive ingredient portfolio, formulations expertise, blending capabilities and global distribution network.

SweetRight and VerySweet join ADM’s VivaSweet sucralose. SweetRight, which actually is a range of stevia ingredients, is up to 250 times as sweet as sugar and is available in three forms: RA, RA granular and EMS (enzymatically modified stevia) to meet a variety of needs. VerySweet is up to 200 times as sweet as sugar. This low calorie, GRAS sweetener solution may be used alone, blended or as part of a complete sweetening system.

Also demonstrating both was Apura Ingredients (apuraingredients.com). The company is just over a year old, but the key members have been involved in sweetener sales for many years. In addition to stevia and monk fruit, Apura offers aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, neotame, erythritol and xylitol, as well as a variety of nutrient, sweetener, energy, and antioxidant premixes.

Blue California (bluecal-ingredients.com) also markets both. Its Good & Sweet 99 percent rebaudioside-A stevia was FDA-confirmed as GRAS in July of 2009. Its Blue Sweet monk fruit made GRAS in January 2012. Blue California uses both extraction and fermentation to make the sweeteners.

Cargill unveiled a collaboration agreement with Evolva for the production and commercialization of EverSweet, “the next-generation stevia sweetener.” The product is expected to launch in 2018. Instead of the commonly used rebaudioside-A glycoside of the stevia plant, EverSweet focuses on reb-M and reb-D. Although those glycosides are rare in the stevia plant, they will be produced by fermentation at Cargill’s Blair, Neb., facility, which is being retrofitted for the purpose. The facility will be operated by Cargill and will be used for the fermentation of other Evolva products.

Evolva will own 30 percent of the EverSweet business. That company plans to build and operate a new bioprocessing facility, on adjacent land leased from Cargill, to manufacture nootkatone, a grapefruit derivative, and resveratrol and is expected to come online in 2019.

Ajinomoto demonstrated its newest sweetener, Advantame, which is about 20,000 times sweeter than sucrose and has a clean, sweet, sugar-like taste, the supplier claims, and very low cost-in-use.

The sweetener has FDA approval for general use in foods and beverages. It’s also FEMA GRAS approved as an artificial flavor. Ajinomoto markets it as a “partial” replacement for sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other caloric sweeteners and says it blends well with other non-caloric sweeteners. Advantame extends sweetness duration in chewing gum and improves the sweetness profile of many confections. It’s also useful in dairy drinks, frozen desserts and beverages.

Beneo paired its sweetener Palatinose with its natural prebiotic chicory fiber to sweeten and the help support a healthy metabolism, which effectively supports weight management.

Carolina Sweet

Palatinose is a slow-release carbohydrate that provides full energy in a sustained way and promotes fat burning during physical activity, the company claims. Its generic name is isomaltulose, which occurs naturally in honey, although Palatinose itself is derived from non-GMO sugar beets. Beneo lists as applications bakery, cereals, beverages and confectionery items.

Matsutani Chemical Co.’s (astraea-allulose.com) offering is Astraea allulose, a “rare sugar” found in a number of plants. Matsutani makes the ultra-low-calorie sweetener via enzymatic isomerization of fructose.

Grain Processing Corp. (grainprocessing.com) added a tapioca-based maltodextrin to its Maltrin line. The functional carbohydrates are non-GMO by origin, non-allergenic and are available in a wide range of dextrose equivalents.

While back in the caloric sugar range, Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients (cifingredients.com) offers sweet potato as a sweetener. Carolina Sweet is a 75-brix, non-GMO, clean-label replacement for sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and fruit-based sugars. Most consumers perceive a sweet potato-derived sugar to be a healthier way to sweeten.

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