Sugar reduction demands continue to propel beverage formulation, Flavorchem research reveals
05 May 2022 --- The sugar reduction trend is maintaining its hold on industry, with latest statistics from Flavorchem’s IFIC 2021 Food and Health Survey revealing that 72% of respondents are trying to limit or avoid sugar in their diets altogether.
In particular, the beverage sector leads the way for sugar reduction efforts as the category evolves to serve a wider range of health-conscious consumers.
Keeping in line with the clean label movement, consumers are turning away from artificial sweeteners and moving toward better-for-you products with free-from claims.
“The demand for sugar reduction in beverages is clear,” says Rebecca Shurhay, marketing analyst at Flavorchem. “Consumers want beverages that not only taste good but are suitable for their dietary needs as formulators strive to maintain clean labels, sweetness and taste.”
Modulating sweetness with naturality
Approximately 18% of all global non-alcoholic beverage launches since 2020 featured sugar-related claims, according to Flavorchem.
“To be successful in this space, brands need to deliver health-forward drinks that can satisfy taste,” the company details. “Product developers are working to overcome taste and formulation challenges associated with reduced sugar products by utilizing modulation technologies.”
In response to consumer demand for reduced sugar offerings, Flavorchem developed Taste Mod Sweet, a natural flavor that is formulated to enhance sweetness in beverage applications without sacrificing on taste or nutrition.
The ingredient supplier’s modulators were developed to provide solutions for sugar reduction taste challenges. In particular, Taste Mod Sweet works in a variety of beverage applications covering a range of pH levels and nutritive sweeteners.
The sweetness modulator allows for a 30% reduction in sugar to enable a “reduced sugar” claim and is approximately 40 times sweeter than sucrose. Designed for clean label products, Taste Mod Sweet is labeled as vegan, kosher, non-GMO, whole foods compliant, Prop 65-free and can be branded as a “natural flavor.”
Advancements in sugar reduction
The global sugar-substitute market is projected to be worth US$10.2 billion by 2026, according to B.T. Sweet. The food-tech start-up recently unveiled Cambya, a plant-based “botanical sugar” substitute. The proprietary formula is based on soluble fibers, monk fruit and select botanicals.
Botanicals have also featured prominently in formulations by Israeli start-up Sweet Victory, which introduced a line of chewing gums designed to stop sweet cravings by blocking the sugar receptors on the tongue.
Last March, biotech company Conagen scaled its production of two high-intensity sweeteners, thaumatin I and thaumatin II. Both proteins have been evaluated as 100,000 times sweeter than sugar on a molar basis and 3,000 times sweeter on a weight basis.
And erlier this year, Sweegen rolled out its newest advancement in sweetening solutions, the high-intensity sweetener brazzein, branded Ultratia. Found sparingly in nature, brazzein derives from the West African climbing plant’s fruit, oubli. It is processed through a proprietary precision fermentation process.
Sustainable methods of production are also in the spotlight. Earlier this week, Finish food producer Fazer detailed its latest method of upcycling oat hulls generated at its mills to create xylitol, a sugar replacer with 40% fewer calories (2,4 kcal/g).
By Benjamin Ferrer
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