How to sweeten your products for less

 Dan McElwee
Dan McElwee
Technical Services Manager,  Cargill Sweeteners

With high sugar prices and volatile markets, food manufacturers are tapping cost-effective nutritive sweetener alternatives. As Cargill's food processing customers have seen, even a low-percentage substitution can pay huge dividends.

At roughly half the price of sugar, high-fructose corn syrup can step in as a 1:1 direct replacement in many formulations. After recent demonization of high-fructose corn syrup, consumers are learning that the body uses it in the same way it uses sugar. According to a recent study by Mintel, most consumers are untroubled by high-fructose corn syrup and food manufacturers are happy to reap the associated cost savings.

imilarly, Mexico-sourced refined or estandar (standard) sugar is becoming a popular, lower-cost alternative to sugar sourced elsewhere. Less refined than granulated sugar with a slight molasses flavor and color, estandar sugar has successfully sweetened jams and jellies, dairy products, chewing gum, bakery products and cereals. Cargill is the only sugar marketer with broad access to corn sweeteners and sugar on both sides of the United States/Mexico border.

So, can sugar substitution work for your products? Cargill has the technical development expertise and applications experience to evaluate your needs and deliver technical solutions. Our sweetener applications work with customers have included sugar coatings, beverages, bakery products and cereals. Confections and bakery, in which sugar plays a functional as well as flavor role, can present a hurdle—but not an insurmountable one.

Cargill's global reach on six continents and partnerships throughout North America allow our customers to take advantage of market dynamics and a full complement of nutritive sweetener products, from granulated and fruit sugar derived from sugar beets or sugar cane, to liquid sucrose and corn syrups and sweeteners.

Another cost-management opportunity is in the forms of sweetener you use, the packaging they are received in, and the freight they require. If you're using dry bagged sugar or corn syrup solids, consider switching to a liquid bulk supply that requires less packaging and freight. Likewise, the savings from switching to larger, bulk quantities of liquid corn syrup from smaller quantities could be pretty sweet.

If you're using multiple liquid and dry sweeteners in the same product, Cargill can custom-blend them to allow you to realize the cost advantage of bulk quantities. Custom blends may also yield indirect benefits, such as freeing up storage tank capacity for other uses.

Cargill has earned a reputation as one of the world's leading sugar and sweetener marketers. Whether you want to use sugar in your pudding or corn syrup in your soda, call on us to help you produce appealing products with profit-maximizing savings.

~Dan McElwee is technical services manager at Cargill Sweeteners. He has been with Cargill for all of his 18 years in the industry.