Low sugar trend boosts bulk sweetener innovation3 Feb 2020
Use of bulk sweeteners in new products is on the rise, largely driven by consumer interest in sugar-free and lower sugar products.
Lower calorie sweeteners are divided into two main categories: bulk and high intensity. While high intensity sweeteners are used in tiny quantities to replace the sweetness of sugar, bulk sweeteners tend to be slightly less sweet than sugar but are similar in mass, meaning they can be useful as sugar replacers without the need for additional bulking ingredients. And as consumers increasingly look for natural sweetening options, manufacturers have turned to sugar alcohols – also known as polyols – such as xylitol, maltitol, erythritol, sorbitol and isomalt.
Such ingredients come from plant products and fruits but whether they really qualify as ‘natural’ depends on the production process, as well as individual interpretation of the word. However, the rise of low-carb and keto diet trends has also boosted their use in recent years, and in 2019, their use was up 8% compared to the previous year, according to data from Innova Market Insights. The most popular positionings for foods with bulk sweeteners were ‘sugar-free’, ‘gluten-free’ and ‘no added sugar’, the market researcher found.
Sorbitol leads the pack, used in 57% of new products that contained bulk sweeteners last year, followed by maltitol (25%), erythritol (12%), xylitol (11%) and isomalt (7%). Bulk sweeteners are most commonly used to help reduce calories from sugars in baked goods, chocolates, frozen desserts, hard candies, sugar-free chewing gum and snack bars. Each sweetener has attributes that make it best suited for particular applications, and differences in sweetness onset and intensity mean they are often blended together.
However, their benefits go beyond sugar reduction alone. Sorbitol, like xylitol and erythritol, has been shown to reduce dental caries, making it a popular choice for chewing gum and other confectionery. It also helps keep blood glucose levels lower than sugar, meaning it is useful for products intended for diabetic consumers – another growing market segment. Sorbitol supplier Roquette, for instance, promotes its sorbitol powder for its tooth-friendly properties, but also for its ability to extend the shelf life of seafood products.
Sugar reduction has become an increasingly important target for food manufacturers globally, and the trend shows no sign of slowing. But reducing sugar is rarely as easy as switching it for another sweetener, as sugar provides much more than sweetness. Replacing the bulk of sugar is often a major challenge, which gives bulk sweeteners an edge over many other available options.
Timeline: Impacts of COVID-19 on the global food industry
30 Mar 2020
The number of cases of COVID-19 continues to climb, with more than 723,000 confirmed cases and 34,000 deaths worldwide as of March 30.Read more
Beyond plants: Is the future in microbial protein?
29 Mar 2020
Plant proteins may be among the hottest topics in the food industry right now, but another group of alternative proteins is emerging, based on microbial sources, such as algae, fungi and bacteria.Read more
Covid-19: Food companies turn to online platforms amid social distancing
28 Mar 2020
Web conferencing and other online platforms have surged amid global advice to practise social distancing as the novel coronavirus outbreak continues. How are food companies making the most of online tools to reach their customers?Read more
Newly discovered plant pigments could hold food industry promise
23 Mar 2020
The discovery of a new class of natural colours could lead to more vibrant and stable colourings for foods and beverages. Is this the breakthrough the industry has been waiting for?Read more
Coronavirus: Supply chains under scrutiny
22 Mar 2020
Covid-19 will reveal holes in the relative resilience of companies’ supply chains, as the global and interlinked nature of the food industry is laid bare.Read more
New textures make plant proteins more like meat
15 Mar 2020
New processing technologies are making the texture of meat alternatives more realistically meat-like than ever before, as manufacturers and consumers alike focus on texture as well as taste.Read more
Unscrambling the myths around eggs and heart health
15 Mar 2020
Yet another study has suggested no link between moderate egg consumption and heart disease risk, but despite research repeatedly finding little association between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol, many consumers continue to link eggs with hea...Read more
Targeting texture in indulgent foods and drinks
9 Mar 2020
Despite consumer assertions that they want healthier foods, sales of indulgent products continue to grow, providing opportunities for creamy, crunchy and contrasting textures in various categories.Read more
Sugar remains top concern for consumers
9 Mar 2020
Avoiding added sugar is the number one concern for consumers when using front-of-pack labelling to choose healthier foods and drinks, a new study suggests, while excess saturated fat and salt are less likely to influence purchase decisions.Read more
Blockchain uptake on the rise for secure food supply chains
2 Mar 2020
Blockchain technology has been hailed as a way to improve transparency in food supply chains, and it is now being adopted by a growing number of companies.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