A “naturally sweeter approach” crucial for reduced sugar NPD, says Innova Market Insights
12 Aug 2021 --- Concern over sugar intake and interest in sugar reduction is driving a sophisticated approach to sweetening foods and beverages, according to Innova Market Insights. The market researcher says there is a clear focus on three parallel areas: natural sweeteners, less sweetening and no sweetness.
The company’s latest Ingredient Insider report analyzes trends in sugar reduction and the use of sweeteners in food and beverage applications.
Global strategies highlighted
Efforts to reduce sugar levels are well established and ongoing, reflecting the link to dental caries, as well as the widely held view that high sugar consumption is a causative factor for a range of conditions, including weight gain, diabetes and hyperactivity in children.
Government intervention in this regard has become more widespread globally, including the use of sugar taxes and the regulation of advertising targeting children.
Four in ten consumers in Innova’s global Health and Nutrition Survey in 2020 said they decreased their sugar consumption over 12 months. The prevention of health conditions was the leading reason for this reduction, ahead of weight management and followed by dental health.
“In recent years ingredient innovations have enabled manufacturers to better replicate the multiple sensory and functional properties of sugar, including sweetness, mouthfeel, bulk, browning and moisture retention, while lowering the amounts of sugar and calories,” explains Lu Ann Williams, global insights director at Innova Market Insights.
Marketing different forms of sugar and sweeteners
Sweeteners currently include non-nutritive, bulk, reduced-calorie sugars and rare sugars. Still, ongoing research is likely to discover forms of sugar that can be marketed as natural and offer both formulation and metabolic benefits while increasingly successfully targeting the high taste expectations of consumers.
The demand for natural sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit and erythritol is rising in response to consumer demand for clean products and a clean label.
These are starting to displace other sweeteners considered to be artificial, reflecting Innova Market Insights’ Top Trend for 2021, “Transparency Triumphs.”
Companies are upping their game to tell the story of their product by detailing exact ingredients and origins along with production processes.
Developing sweetness and taste
Manufacturers continue to develop new steviol rebaudioside glycosides with sweetness profiles that better match the taste of sugar.
At the same time, novel production methods are reducing environmental impact. Blends of ingredients used to replicate sugar’s sensory and functional properties include plant-derived sweet-tasting fibers such as chicory root fiber.
These ingredient mixes will continue to optimize taste, recognizing its vital role as a purchase driver. These can encompass concentrated sweeteners alone or combined with fibers and other components that replicate sugar’s sensory and functional properties.
Ingredients can be chosen and tailored to match the dietary requirements of consumers, including plant-based, vegan and gluten-free. They are also likely to offer benefits beyond sweetness, such as better tolerated fibers and protein fortification, flags Innova Market Insights.
Spotlight on ice cream
In recent months, sugar reduction strategies have been highlighted in the ice cream and desserts categories.
Last month, FoodIngredientsFirst reported that plant-based, non-dairy and reduced-sugar reformulation is reshaping the ice cream segment.
Innova Market Insights also recently flagged how reduced sugar solutions are “offering a competitive edge for ice cream innovation.”
The market researcher revealed that non-dairy, low sugar and ethically sourced ingredients were trending in the space.
Meanwhile, the drive toward healthier food choices is set to remain robust in sweet treats throughout this year, as emphasized in Innova Market Insights’ report published in February.
New technologies on the radar
Industry is seeing an acceleration of new protein sweeteners amid a boom in sugar reduction technology.
In June, Roquette Ventures invested in Magellan Life Sciences Ltd., a UK-based biotech company that develops plant proteins through fermentation.
Meanwhile, in May, Amyris signed an agreement with Ingredion for the exclusive licensing of Amyris’ zero-calorie, nature-based, fermented Reb M sweetener.
DouxMatok also released a first direct-to-consumer product featuring its Incredo Sugar, a sugar-based solution that enables 30 to 50 percent sugar reduction.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
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