According to the “2004 Market for Weight Loss Eating” report by MarketResearch.com, low-glycemic food and beverage sales increased 33% in 2002, and at least 25% in 2003 (through December 3). Additionally, the food and beverage markets for the following categories also have increased: no sugar, up 22.5%; no carbohydrates, up 155.6%; no calories, up 13.3%; low sugar, up 38.7% and low calories, 13.4%. Consumer interest in these products has created an opportunity for alternative sweeteners.
A Multi-functional SweetenerThere is a new, natural sweetener on the market that provides sweetness, functionality, health benefits and flavor enhancement all in one product, without adding a lot of calories or a glycemic impact, Gaio[r] tagatose, from Arla Food Ingredients (Basking Ridge, N.J.).
One of the remarkable attributes of Gaio tagatose is that even though it provides a sweet flavor, it has no impact on the glycemic response. This property allows for a “no impact carb” claim. Other claims being promoted with Gaio tagatose include a prebiotic structure function claim, an FDA-approved dental claim (for not promoting tooth decay), and a natural claim, as tagatose occurs in nature in small amounts. Ulla Petersen Skytte, business development, Arla Food Ingredients, says, “It is easiest to view Gaio tagatose as having two main uses. First, for the health perspective, it is a healthy sweetener with almost the same sweetness as sugar, but with a prebiotic- and fiber-like effect, and a low-glycemic response, as measured by the Institute of Sydney University (Sydney, Australia), and seen on our website. It has a low-calorie value (1.5Kcal/g). Secondly, it has unique flavor-creating properties. In minor dosages, tagatose improves mouthfeel in diet products sweetened with high-intensity sweeteners (HIS) as in beverages, confectionery and yogurts. Also, it reduces bitterness and the lingering sweetness, which often is a major problem in HIS-sweetened systems.”
These flavor-enhancing properties very recently have resulted in a cooperative agreement between Sweetgredients (the manufacturing company of tagatose and a joint venture of Arla Foods Ingredients and Nordzucker, Nordstemmen, Germany) and Symrise Flavor Division NA (Teterboro, N.J.), with the aim of developing new generations of flavors containing tagatose. Matthias Guentert, Ph.D., vice-president of innovation at Symrise, states, “Using tagatose at very low levels has resulted in enhanced mouthfeel, and sweeter, fresher-tasting, creamier and more generally satisfying taste in the flavor blends we have created for a range of functional foods, sweet goods and beverages.”
According to Skytte, “We have seen a big interest in using Gaio tagatose for making no-glycemic-response chocolates.” Gaio tagatose was notified GRAS in October 2001.