The food and beverage industry has for years relied on sugar to enhance products and provide extra energy to consumers. But as portion sizes have increased, so too has the amount of sugar the average person takes in each day. A growing body of research has linked excessive sugar consumption to a host of health concerns including obesity
Although sugar remains an important source of energy in some regions, the negative health consequences associated with sugar consumption has many individuals more conscious than ever before of the amount of sugar in the items they eat and drink. Many are reading labels and reaching for low-, no- and reduced-sugar products, and some manufacturers have begun to scale back portion sizes as another means of reducing sugar.
Around the globe, governmental bodies have also joined the push for less sugar through education campaigns and, increasingly, sugar taxes on products, especially sugar sweetened beverages. Further complicating the matter, while nutrition is a priority, consumers are not willing to compromise on taste. As manufacturers reformulate products, from soft drinks and cereals to pasta sauces and frozen dinners, maintaining a balance of taste and nutrition during sugar reduction often requires ingredients created exactly for this purpose—to maintain a sweet taste experience while improving nutrition.
Get help with sugar reduction
When sugar is eliminated from a recipe, sweetness is just one aspect to disappear from the final product. In foods and beverages, sugar also plays an important role in texture, color, viscosity, mouthfeel and flavour. When reformulating a product to include less sugar, here are some important considerations:
Without sugar in a product, sweetness levels will drop. This decrease may reveal other tastes, such as bitterness and off-notes.
Sugar affects mouthfeel
When sugar is eliminated or reduced, there’s often a change in texture. Reformulation efforts may need to include ingredients that bring back the syrupy body for beverages or a more structured texture for items such as baked goods.
Sugar is out, but sweetness is still in
Although consumers are sounding off on sugar, most want to consume products that have around the same level of sweetness.
When sugar is reduced, other ingredients must be added to retain taste and texture. Our experts can help you decide the best ingredient or blend of ingredients for your reduced sugar product. Here are three of the most common sugar alternatives:
Taste modulation solutions
By affecting the perception of taste and sweetness through taste modulation, products such as TasteSense™ allow for sugar reduction, while building back flavor and texture. Formulations can be designed to work on their own or in conjunction with other sweeteners. For example, a taste modulator can mask the bitterness of a natural sweetener.
As consumer preferences shift to clean label solutions, sweet ingredients such as honey and agave hold strong appeal. However, while using natural sugars may move traditional cane or beet sugar down in your list of ingredients, the amount of sugar listed in the product nutrition facts may remain unchanged. Natural sweeteners can also add bitterness and metallic off-notes to a product.
Ingredients such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose are sweeter than sugar and also lower in calories. Though once popular as a sugar replacement, many consumers are concerned about the health effects of artificial sweeteners, despite a lack of evidence.
The demand for reduced sugar is almost universal, but labeling regulations vary by country. For instance, the definition of “natural sugars” differs by location, and so do criteria for adding callouts such as “low sugar”, “reduced sugar” and “ no added sugars”. When you partner with us on sugar reduction, our regulatory team can help you understand and abide by labeling criteria specific to your points of sale.
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