Sweegen obtains FEMA GRAS status for sweet protein brazzein technology
05 May 2023 --- Sweegen has revealed that its “highly sought-after” sweet protein Ultratia brazzein technology has received Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status from the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA).
The company is the first to attain FEMA GRAS status and to produce brazzein commercially globally. This designation is significant to Sweegen because it will allow manufacturers to use its range of Sweetensify Flavors confidently, including the novel sweet protein brazzein in their product formulations.
Ramping up technology
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Casey McCormick, VP of global innovation at Sweegen, says for brands, stevia alone isn’t enough to replace the qualities sugar provides to food and beverages. “We foresee better sugar reduction tools and sweetener technologies available for product developers, better creativity, and an affinity for better-for-you products.”
He underscores the pressure on brands to make great-tasting, better-for-you food and beverages with fewer or zero grams of sugar.
“Consumers know taste and calories. Brands understand that they need to reformulate or lose market share on new products that deliver on the promise of zero-sugar or reduced-sugar products.”
McCormick believes that brands need access to cost-competitive health-forward sweet taste solutions and ingredients in the sugar reduction revolution to deliver on their nutritional promises.
Sweegen is investing in clean technologies and opening new markets with regulatory approvals worldwide. “We invested in global innovation studios and manufacturing to work with customers locally and help brands create products that resonate with their regional consumers,” he says.
This year, Sweegen launched its Sweetensify Flavors, the newest flavor tool powered by Sweegen’s novel-sweet protein technology that includes brazzein, thaumatin II, and other unique proteins.
The company also recently attained FEMA GRAS status for thaumatin II, a sweet protein complementary to brazzein.
“Sweetensify Flavors improve and modulate sweet flavor, creating a sugar-like experience – pushing the boundaries of healthier product innovation,” McCormick adds.
Commercialization and scale-up
Brazzein’s unique characteristics make it special, and its commercialization and scaling have been challenging until now. Brazzein is a rare sweet protein that originates from the fruit of the West African climbing plant, oubli.
To produce brazzein sustainably, Sweegen uses a proprietary precision fermentation process, which creates clean high-purity ingredients.
“Our customers and the industry have eagerly anticipated our brazzein FEMA GRAS status,” adds Luca Giannone, senior vice president of sales at the company.
“We are excited to offer it as the star sweet protein in our Sweetensify Flavors Collection. In July, we will demonstrate our Ultratia brazzein in the newly launched Sweetensify Flavors Collection at the IFT First trade show in Chicago.”
Hadi Omrani, VP of technical and regulatory affairs, explains that this latest milestone in F&B creation “symbolizes Sweegen's promise to brands to open doors to scalable state-of-the-art technology for creating better-for-everyone food and beverages.”
He underscores that the FEMA GRAS status is a testament to the safety of brazzein as a flavor modifier.Sweetensify Flavors for taste modulation improves and modulates a variety of taste attributes, which can help brands push the boundaries of healthier product innovation.
Brazzein’s formulation qualities inspired Sweegen to launch Sweentisify Flavors last month. It is the newest flavor tool starring its novel sweet protein Ultratia brazzein, which also features thaumatin II and other unique proteins.
“Sweegen’s product development teams have discovered remarkable synergies between Sweetensify Flavors and our Signature Stevia systems,” adds McCormick.
Sweet proteins like brazzein have an affinity for different taste receptors on the tongue, especially the receptor known as T1R3, which is associated with both umami and sweetness perception. Leveraging this attribute, Sweetensify Flavors will enable product developers to maintain the quality of characteristic flavors and sweetness while reducing the sugar they use in products.
With the addition of brazzein, Sweegen continues to expand its portfolio of safe and effective taste-modulating flavors to help food and beverage manufacturers meet the demand for healthier and delicious products to align with consumers’ holistic approaches to wellness.
By Elizabeth Green
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