Ingredion debuts polyol sweetener as sugar replacement

11 May 2020

Ingredion launched Erysta, its first polyol sweetener that comes in a range of crystalline particle sizes for different moisture applications. This sugar alcohol is 70% as sweet as sugar and has zero calorie content. According to a statement from the company, the sweetener is intended to provide an avenue for manufacturers to place value-add labels on their packaging, such as “no added sugar” and “reduced calorie.”

Although not as sweet as sugar, Erysta has an advantage over other sweetener alternatives in that it mimics the mouthfeel that traditional sugar imparts on products. However, despite the manufacturer claiming that this additive is applicable in desserts, baked goods, beverages, chocolate and fruit preparations, the sweetener features a distinct cooling sensation that is transmitted to the foods and beverages that are sweetened with this polyol.

Ingredion debuts polyol sweetener as sugar replacement

While sugar remains a notable component of diets, it is falling out of fashion. But not just any sweet substance is an acceptable replacement. Food Ingredients First reported data from an Innova Market Insights survey that found three in five U.S. consumers would prefer to reduce their sugar intake rather than replace it by consuming artificial sweeteners.

This desire for natural sweeteners may account for the 47% increase in new product launches containing erythritol between 2017 to 2019, according to Food Ingredients First.

Erythritol is not a new sweetening agent on the market, but this is Ingredion’s first foray into the space. The company's choice to pursue this sweetener, which is made through a fermentation process, is an indication that consumers are not only looking to consume less sugar overall, but they are also seeking lower-sugar alternatives in the products they purchase. Products with "low/no/reduced sugar" label claims jumped 45% in 2017 compared to five years prior, Kerry found.

It is also helpful that Erysta can be paired with other sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit to increase the level of sweetness while also masking the off tastes for which these two natural sweeteners are notorious. The sugar alcohol is also valuable for its ability to offer a sugar-like mouthfeel to foods that are sweetened with stevia.

Erythritol has steep competition as it vies to win the favor of both manufacturers and consumers. In addition to popular choices like stevia and monk fruit, there is allulose, which has all the attributes of erythritol but additionally has no aftertaste and can participate in maillard. It is also a cost competitive option that does not carry the hallmark cooling sensation that is unique to erythritol.

Still, Erysta is entering the market at a time where health concerns surrounding sugar position it to become a key ingredient for manufacturers that are looking to reformulate their recipes.

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