Food and beverages manufacturers are under pressure to reduce product sugar content. And it’s no surprise, considering the World Health Organization’s endorsement of soft drink “sugar taxes” and FDA’s new Nutrition Facts labeling guidelines, which require product packaging to list all added sugars.
There’s also growing consumer pressure. Surveys show more consumers are trying to limit their daily sugar intake due to health concerns about obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. Even so, most consumers are not ready to give up sweetness and are they are turning towards natural, non-caloric sweeteners to fulfill their needs.
In this context, the growing demand for clean labels and natural ingredients is extremely relevant. This trendline is working against some non-caloric options, which are perceived as artificial, while it is boosting the use of natural sweeteners such as stevia.
Thanks to the very positive aura surrounding this ingredient, stevia is indeed number one when it comes to formulating with all-natural alternative sweeteners—and the market is still growing. Estimated by Grand View Research to be worth $337.7 million in 2015, it is projected to keep growing at a steady pace to reach $556.7 million in 2024, progressively replacing more artificial and sugar-based sweeteners. And as a matter of interest, an estimated 35% of the stevia’s growth is connected to new beverage development.
Formulating with stevia
Phoebe Millan, a flavor application scientist at Prinova USA, notes that replacing sugar or artificial sweeteners with natural alternatives is no easy task.
“Formulating with stevia, for example, can be challenging,” she says. “Although it is possible to swap one or two ingredients in place of sugar—like you do with sucralose or acesulfame-k—the use of a custom blend of three or four different stevia products can deliver significantly better results. With the newer ingredients available and based on the specific application, flavor and desired sugar reduction level, these custom blends can indeed help overcome the formulation limitations of using Reb A alone.”
As PureCircle’s exclusive North American distributor and applications partner, Prinova provides unique cutting-edge stevia products to help customers take formulas beyond straight Reb A inclusions for the best-tasting products.
Beyond ingredients, Prinova’s extensive experience in formulating with stevia allows it to offer personalized customer support. Prinova has the capabilities to help customers with their development needs from start to finish and create the exact customized blend of stevia ingredients needed for perfectly tailored natural sweetener solutions. By leveraging its team of experts and years of experience, Prinova can help reduce customers’ R&D efforts and time-to-market.
PureCircle® Stevia Ingredients: Innovative and Unique
In light of the long-lasting “clean-label” trend, PureCircle has been working on a new patented technological process to naturally isolate the flavoring components of the leaf. The result is a range of FEMA GRAS approved natural flavors derived from stevia.
Designed to enhance specific flavor notes, they make it possible to reduce the amount of sugar in a product while maintaining the same sweetness level. They can simply be labeled as “natural flavors” without having to mention stevia in a product ingredients statement. PureCircle Flavors have been designed to deliver optimal taste in different types of applications. For example, NSF-01 is best for citrus and tropical flavor applications while NSF-04 is better suited for fruity flavor applications.
For further sugar reduction, PureCircle Flavors also can be combined with PureCircle Stevia Sweeteners to facilitate sugar replacements up to 100%. Synergies between products and cost-in-use make these combinations of two or more ingredients the best solutions for deep sugar-reduction.
“A few years back, traditional stevia ingredients only allowed for sugar reductions of about 30% in most applications. Nowadays, thanks to innovative ingredients such as PureCircle Flavors and Sweeteners, we can provide up to 100% replacement by nuancing formulations and combining several ingredients with complementary features,” says Millan. “Our extensive knowledge of PureCircle stevia ingredients allows us to expertly choose and apply the most appropriate solutions to meet specific formulation needs. We sometimes use as many as four or five different ingredients in one customized blend to reach the desired taste.”
PureCircle Alpha is one of main ingredients used when extra reduction is required. It is a stevia extract 260 times sweeter than sugar. It works exceptionally well in beverage and dairy applications and is definitely changing the landscape of deep sugar-reduction taste profiles. It allows manufacturers to deliver superior tasting formulas at deeper reduction levels by giving the entire stevia blend a cleaner finish and helping to overcome lingering bitterness.
Although stevia has traditionally been marketed mostly for use in combination with sucrose or other sweeteners in reduced sugar products, rather than products eliminating sugar altogether, innovative stevia ingredients might lead to its repositioning as a sugar-free option going forward. This is only possible as progress in technology helped overcome the taste issues that plagued the natural sweetener for years, limiting its sugar reduction capabilities. Indeed, albeit seeking healthier alternatives and trying to cut their sugar intake, great taste is still a priority for consumers who are not yet prepared to sacrifice taste for health.
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