Sweegen expands sugar reduction portfolio with high-intensity brazzein
04 Oct 2021 --- Sweegen is expanding its extensive sweetener portfolio in early 2022 with the zero-calorie, high-intensity sweetener brazzein. The product was developed in collaboration with its long-term partner Conagen, which has scaled it to commercial production.
Brazzein is a small, heat-stable protein, 500 to 2,000 times sweeter than regular sugar, making it “very attractive to food and beverage manufacturers seeking excellent value in a sweetener,” according to Sweegen.
Brazzein’s qualities stand out among high-intensity sweeteners, but the quest to scale and commercialize it has proven difficult until now, the company details.
Addressing taste challenges
As a sweetener, brazzein promises little to no bitter aftertaste and helps to reduce sweet lingering, reducing taste modulation challenges in the natural sweetener space.
Brazzein is stable in a wide range of pH levels and retains its qualities after pasteurization. It is also readily soluble, making it ideal for sugar reduction across a spectrum of food and beverage applications.
“Introducing a high-purity brazzein to Sweegen’s portfolio of natural sweeteners is one more creative solution for helping brands make low-calorie better-for-you products, according to Shari Mahon, senior vice president, head of global innovation at Sweegen.
“Brands can look forward to exploring the synergistic benefits of combining brazzein and stevia for reducing sugar in food and beverages in a cost-effective way,” she says.
As a sweet protein, brazzein has “great promise” to fit into consumer diets, such as keto, diabetes or low-to-no carbohydrate lifestyles.
Found sparingly in nature, brazzein derives from the West African climbing plant’s fruit, oubli. To scale brazzein sustainably, Conagen produces it by a proprietary precision fermentation process.
Casey Lippmeier, vice president of innovation at Conagen, says brazzein is the first product generated from its new peptide platform, which fits nicely into its existing world-scale, precision fermentation infrastructure.
“Peptides and small proteins like brazzein can be very difficult to make economically. However, now that we have successfully scaled this peptide, we expect more sustainable, novel peptide ingredients will rapidly follow,” he notes.
Natural sweeteners reign
Health-conscious consumers are also turning away from artificial sweeteners and accepting nature-based sweeteners, such as stevia and allulose.
Sugar reduction remains a central theme for industry as both consumers and governments push for healthier food and beverages. While many can agree “less is more,” opinions differ on how this should be done. Industry has, in turn, developed a host of systems to reduce sugar by varying degrees.
Last month, Sweegen expanded its footprint into China by formulating premium low-calorie confectionery chocolate for the brand TeChoco. The move is in recognition of the Asia-Pacific chocolate market’s diversification and elevated sophisticated consumer tastes.
Meanwhile, in Europe, the Union of European Soft Drinks Associations (UNESDA) revealed its enhanced health and nutrition targets to help Europeans manage their intake of added sugars from soft drinks with a pledge to reduce sugar by a further 10% by 2025. Key sugar reduction players, including Sweegen, shared their insights with FoodIngredientsFirst, following the latest strides in sugar reduction.
In April, Sweegen was fast-tracking the non-GMO Bestevia Reb M commercial scale-up at its manufacturing facility in Europe in anticipation of approval, which arrived in July.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
To contact our editorial team please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.