Zukán offers tailored sugar-reduction solutions

3 May 2018

Food and drink makers increasingly are cutting sugars from their products, but there is a balance to be struck between health and the pleasure of eating, says Spanish sweeteners specialist.

Zukán offers tailored sugar-reduction solutions
market is driven by healthy and natural products

In recent years, sugar has become a major target for public health advocates, particularly after the World Health Organization recommended in 2014 that no more than 5% of calories should come from added sugars. According to Euromonitor International, given a list of ingredients they check for on product labels, 42% of global consumers said they checked for limited or no added sugar. In addition, many countries have introduced sugar taxes, giving manufacturers a further incentive to reduce sugar in their formulations.

Zukán supplies a wide range of sugars and sweeteners, with a particular focus on natural products and tailor-made mixtures to create specific sweetening solutions.

“From our point of view the market is driven by healthy and natural products, without compromising on flavour or the pleasure of eating, above all in the indulgence sectors,” said Zukán’s Marketing and Communications Director Maria Lencina.

Application driven approach

Managing the trend toward reduced sugars is a challenge, but for a sugar and sweeteners specialist like Zukán, she says the answer lies in R&D.

“The key is for the companies who develop sweetening ingredients to focus their efforts on research and development, while at the same time making sure they are up-to-date with any new approvals and additions on the new ingredient list,” she said.

The company’s product range includes solid and liquid sugars, as well as polyols and stevia, organic options and custom mixtures, among others. When replacing sugars, the company aims to find substitutes that work in terms of cost, technical functionality, and for the texture and flavour of the finished product.

“Our strength is in the development of tailor-made mixtures for each product, application and client,” Lencina said. “For this reason, we are able to create unique recipes that create an exclusive product that differentiates itself from the competition.”

A challenge for all food categories

She said there was no specific sector that was more affected than others by the trend toward sugar reduction, but some categories face additional challenges.

“In general, the whole food and beverage sector is affected by this new demand, moreover some sectors and applications have their own rules and regulations that make their characteristics even more specific,” she said.

In chocolate, for example, the polyol maltitol is a commonly used sugar replacement because it is nearly as sweet as sugar and also provides bulk, which needs to be replaced in low sugar products. However, in the European Union, products containing more than 10% polyols must carry a warning about their laxative effect.

When it comes to how food and drink manufacturers are using sweeteners, Lencina said, “There is a desire to change, but since big companies are offering rewards to those who find the perfect sweetener, we understand that there exists a lot of uncertainty in the sugar substitute market.”

For now, there is still no one sweetener that can replace the sweetness and functionality of sugar, which is why companies like Zukán take a personalised approach, tailoring sweetener blends to specific products and customer preferences.

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