Could nature-identical ingredients damage the natural sweeteners market?4 Jul 2018
Natural sweeteners are a major target for companies looking to make nature-identical food ingredients, but if they are produced in a lab rather than extracted from a plant, will consumers accept them as natural?
Companies looking to make nature-identical ingredients focus on growing sectors like natural sweeteners because they potentially hold the greatest reward. The processes used are not straightforward, but if they can succeed in scaling up production of rare molecules, they could bring the cost of natural sweeteners down by decoupling the most desirable compounds from their agricultural origins. However, if consumers can no longer tell whether an ingredient actually comes from nature or not, many commentators have suggested that the appeal of some natural ingredients could fade altogether.
Companies like Evolva in conjunction with Cargill, and DSM are exploring the production of nature-identical steviol glycosides – the sweet components in the stevia leaf. They both use fermentation of engineered yeast to produce some of the most sought after sweet compounds without the need for agriculture. These companies hail the process as better for the environment, because they produce ingredients with less energy and water, and allow precious agricultural land to be used for more essential foodstuffs. But it remains to be seen whether these environmental benefits chime with consumers’ expectations of natural ingredients – even if the sweeteners produced are chemically indistinguishable from plant extracts.
While steviol glycosides from fermentation are completely removed from the stevia plant, supplier PureCircle is working on a way to synthesise less common steviol glycosides like Reb D and Reb M, by starting with the more common Reb A compound derived from the plant. It says the resulting ingredients taste identical to Reb D and Reb M and have an advantage over fermentation-derived sweeteners because they retain their plant origins, thereby answering consumer demand for ingredients from nature.
Meanwhile, a German start-up called Savanna Ingredients claims to have found a way to scale up production of allulose, a low-calorie natural sugar that is found in very small quantities in nature, in foods such as figs, raisins, molasses and maple syrup. The company says its method uses enzymes to synthesise allulose from sugar beets. So far, the use of allulose in foods has been limited, but if Savanna Ingredients succeeds in scaling up the process, it could open the door to further products containing the sweetener, which has just 0.2 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram in sugar.
Existing allulose suppliers include Tate & Lyle, Anderson Global Group, Astraea, and Matsutani Chemical Industry Co. Ltd.
Of course, what consumers say they want and what they actually buy often differ. Several studies have suggested that what matters most to shoppers is taste, price, convenience and nutrition. Only if expectations for these attributes are met do consumers start to consider other values, such as naturalness and ethical standards. But increasingly, consumers are rejecting artificial sweeteners, and manufacturers are responding with affordable, good-tasting natural alternatives.
When it comes to the burgeoning market for natural ingredients, suppliers face an enormously difficult task. Many have found sophisticated technologies that allow them to scale up the production of ingredients found in nature – but they must also convince consumers that these technologies are incidental.
Danone set to launch “dairy-like” segment
8 Oct 2021
To help close the gap between dairy drinkers and plant-based milk acolytes, dairy giant Danone is launching a plant-based “dairy-like” segment in January 2022. Initially, the new segment will launch with two beverages: Silk nextmilk and So Delicious Wo...Read more
Ripple closes $60M investment round, targets global expansion
6 Oct 2021
Animal-free, pea-protein-based dairy maker Ripple Foods raised $60 million in a Series E funding round led by Rage Capital, Ajax Strategies, and S2G Ventures, with backing from OurCrowd, GV, Prelude Ventures, Euclidean, Fall Line Capital, and Tao Capit...Read more
Coca-Cola earns highest marks for sustainable packaging
5 Oct 2021
A new report from the non-profit As You Sow found that among the 50 consumer-facing companies whose packaging sustainability was analyzed, only Coca-Cola earned a grade of B, which was the highest mark extended to any of the companies. Below Coca-Cola,...Read more
Goose Island UK launches hydroponic hops IPA
30 Sep 2021
Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned craft brewery Goose Island announced it is launching a session IPA in the U.K. called Hail Hydro. Brewed with hydroponically-grown hops, the beer is available in limited supply only on the Goose Island U.K. website.Read more
Campbell Soup bubbles into beer with limited time partnership
21 Sep 2021
Soup brand Campbell Soup brand Snyder’s of Hanover is partnering with Captain Lawrence Brewing to tap into the beer market with a brew that combines the flavors of the perennially popular bar snack pretzels with the New York brewery’s craft brews. The ...Read more
Autonomous human milk factory arrives in U.S.
20 Sep 2021
108Labs announced it will build a ‘Cellfacturing’ facility to produce the startup's cell cultured human milk. The factory will operate using a proprietary artificial intelligence platform to produce this cultivated milk at scale.Read more
Coca-Cola is world’s most valuable drink brand, but not fastest-growing
7 Sep 2021
After 129 years of making soda, Coca-Cola remains the world’s most valuable soft drink brand – reporting revenue that is 55% more than the No. 2 market leader, PepsiCo. Coca-Cola retained its ranking despite recording a 13% brand value decline to $33.2...Read more
UK’s Sleep Well milk aims to launch in Asia
3 Sep 2021
Functional milk brand Sleep Well, which uses the active ingredient valerian to promote good sleep, has made launching its products in Asia a priority. Already, the U.K.-based brand has confirmed to Beverage Daily that it will launch in convenience stor...Read more
Hard Mtn Dew to launch through a PepsiCo-Boston Beer partnership
27 Aug 2021
From a new partnership between Big Beer and Big Soda comes Hard Mtn Dew, a flavored malt beverage with 5% ABV. The alcoholic drink will be available to consumers beginning in early 2022.Read more
Evian launches enhanced sparkling water to combat energy slumps
24 Aug 2021
French water brand Evian is putting new energy into attracting consumers to its enhanced water line called evian+. The Evian product, which launched last spring, is enhanced with magnesium and zinc to help contribute to normal cognitive function and co...Read more
Are you a supplier?
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation