Harnessing oat hulls to make sustainable sweeteners30 Jun 2022
Finnish company Fazer is transforming the oat hull side streams from its existing oat mill into the low-calorie sweetener, xylitol.
The Finland-headquartered bakery, confectionery, non-dairy and plant-based foods manufacturer recently began production on the world’s first xylitol made from oat hulls.
“The Fazer xylitol production method utilises the side stream of our existing oat mill in Lahti so we do not need to purchase raw material on the open market,” James Dedman, vice president of Fazer Foodtech explained.
“This method and raw material are unique in the global xylitol production world,” he said, adding that the remaining oat hull waste after the xylitol has been produced is also used to produce energy in the form of steam power.
The resulting energy will power the xylitol production plant and, at full capacity, will provide the steam for the Fazer crispbread factory and the mill overall, said Dedman.
This zero-waste approach “sets Fazer Xylitol apart from other suppliers, and makes us unique in our sustainability approach,” he said. The sustainable production process was developed despite the fact that production of the sugar xylose – the raw material for xylitol production – is difficult to develop on an industrial scale across the board, Dedman added.
Consumer demand for sustainability & price competitiveness
Ingredients Network asked Dedman whether there are cost implications for this kind of sustainable production. Although the company does “not discuss cost position externally,” he told us that: “Fazer xylitol will be competitive in the global market and we will be the only supplier that can produce all of the three specific grades (crystalline, milled and granulated) at the same factory.”
Nevertheless, Fazer has research showing that sustainable products are preferred by consumers, “especially in northern Europe,” said Dedman, adding: “There is a willingness to pay more for these types of products.”
It is vital to continue driving consumer understanding and convince them of the benefits of sustainably produced ingredients, Dedman added.
Importance of sustainability in food production
Dedman went on to highlight the importance of sustainability as a driving force of Fazer’s company ethos. In the last three years, Fazer has invested €300 million in oats derivatives, the most significant investment of which is the Fazer Xylitol factory.
“At Fazer we take sustainability extremely seriously, and no new product or ingredient developments are undertaken without meeting our sustainability guidelines and goals,” he said.
In its press statement, Fazer marked the new xylitol production line as an “excellent example of modern circular economy innovation,” a term used to describe production which reuses and recycles materials and equipment as much as possible to avoid waste.
“The factory’s environmental footprint is very small, I believe that we could talk about the world’s most sustainable xylitol,” Christoph Vitzthum, president and CEO of Fazer Group said in the press statement.<.p>
Nordic oats go international
According to Fazer, the international demand for Finnish xylitol is expected to increase in future, “due to its many application opportunities in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.”
The company claims that Nordic oats have an “unparalleled reputation internationally” and are known to be “pure and of very high quality,” while Finnish food and technology expertise is “at a very high level.”
Dedman said many large companies likely also share Fazer’s sustainable vision and goals, and would therefore “be willing to challenge existing ingredients or products with a more sustainable alternative.”
The company added that 90% of its new Fazer xylitol product is earmarked for export, and is of “special interest” in Europe, the US and Asia, according to Vitzthum.
Beside producing xylitol as a raw material, the Lahti factory’s patented manufacturing technology can also be licensed to other companies.
Additives in US food products up 10% since 2001
18 Jul 2023
New research revealed that 60% of foods purchased by Americans contained technical food additives as of 2019, which was a 10% increase since 2001.Read more
Industry first: The Netherlands approves cultivated meat and seafood tastings
17 Jul 2023
The Netherlands has become the first country in Europe to approve tastings of cultivated meat and seafood in controlled environments, yet there is still a long way to go before widescale commercialisation is achieved.Read more
One-fifth of Brazilian whey protein products mislabelled
12 Jul 2023
One fifth of whey protein products sold in Brazil are mislabelled, according to one small survey, as the Latin American trade association ALANUR calls on authorities to act against brands that inappropriately advertise the nutritional attributes of the...Read more
New Nordic nutrition guidelines emphasise plant-based eating
11 Jul 2023
Nordic scientists and experts are now recommending that people should consume less meat and more plants for both their health and the health of the planet.Read more
Manufacturers await groundbreaking aspartame safety review
10 Jul 2023
The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is preparing to release its findings on whether the sweetener aspartame is a possible carcinogen.Read more
Food sector pushes unhealthy choices on consumers, new report shows
7 Jul 2023
Regulators and retailers must take action to prevent European consumers from being led to make unhealthy food choices, experts say.Read more
How to revive stagnating plant-based meat sales
6 Jul 2023
Sales of plant-based meat are stagnating, products are being withdrawn, and brands are declaring bankruptcy – but Rabobank’s RaboResearch has identified five strategies that could help revive the category, and precision fermentation could be an NPD gam...Read more
UK consumer trust in supermarkets falls to nine-year-low
5 Jul 2023
Research by UK consumer review organisation, Which?, reports decreasing levels of trust in the food industry, with two-thirds of shoppers feeling ripped off.Read more
UK retailers flout unhealthy product regulation
4 Jul 2023
UK retailers are continuing to promote unhealthy products that are high in fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS) despite recent regulation that bans such practices.Read more
Are Dutch supermarkets committed to human rights?
3 Jul 2023
Dutch supermarkets lack widespread measures to respect human rights in supply chains, research project Superlist Social's inaugural report finds.Read more