Sweetness and functionality comparable to sugar are difficult to find in one sweetener or sweetener blend, but Batory Sweet Essentials™ delivers on that challenge, and more, said Jamie Mogilner, Director of Marketing, Communications and Sustainability, Batory Foods. In Batory Foods’ Webinar “Working with Sugar Alternatives: Removing the Guesswork!”, Mogilner presented recent marketing data on sugar reduction and consumer trends. Melissa Riddell, Head of Innovation & Technical Services, showed how Batory Sweet Essentials provides sweetness and functionality, and presents an array of applications made with one or more of the sweetener blends.
In exploring consumer behavior regarding sugar, Mogilner referred to “the Innova Consumer Lifestyle and Attitudes Survey, (which) found that nearly 7 out of 10 consumers across the countries surveyed have reduced their sugar intake with the goal of being healthier.” In addition, 60% of adults in the U.S. said that the sugar content influences their food/beverage purchase choice. Globally, 84% of countries suggest limiting intake of sugars and nearly half specifically mention limiting sugar-sweetened beverages, she added.
Confectionery and soft drinks together make up nearly half of sugar free food and beverage global products launched in 2019, with sports nutrition products launched at 16%, noted Mogilner. Dairy products accounted for nearly a quarter of reduced sugar products launched, while soft drinks followed at 19%, she added. In fact, soft drinks featured in all sugar-related categories of food and beverages launched in 2019.
Consumer interest in more healthful foods and beverages, particularly those reduced in sugar, has not only spurred an increase in new product launches with reduced sugar, but a surge in product development of sugar replacement products. Batory Foods answered the call with its Batory Sweet Essentials line.
Fully Functional Sugar Replacers
“The goal of the Batory Sweet Essentials was to bring together sweetness and functionality, so that you have a fully functional sugar replacer,” explained Riddell. Five sweetener blends have currently been developed under the line, each of which delivers clean label sugar reduction with a clean taste that standalone sweeteners (i.e., polyols, High Potency (HP) sweeteners, soluble fibers) don’t offer. The blends range in Sucrose Equivalent Value (SEV) of 1:1 to 3:1.
All blends are erythritol/allulose based, with the exception of B-Clear (A), which is allulose-based only and B-Clear (E), which is erythritol-based. “B-Fiber contains soluble corn fiber and all blends contain some level of stevia extract to help increase sweetness intensity and achieve better balance,” said Riddell. Each blend has a low glycemic index and is Keto friendly. In addition, each blend was developed with FDA GRAS maximum usage level requirements for erythritol and allulose for specific applications.
When replacing sugar, sweetness intensity and flavor improvement can be accomplished by combining some sweeteners. “Combinations of nutritive sweeteners and HP sweeteners can help balance early onset sweetness with middle and late onset,” explained Riddell. “You see that a lot of times with erythritol and stevia products. Erythritol will give upfront balance with the long linger that comes with stevia.”
In terms of solubility and crystallization, allulose has significantly higher water solubility than other sugars and sugar alcohols, making allulose very difficult to crystallize in an aqueous solution, noted Riddell. Therefore, cookies made with allulose are softer than those made with other sugars. Basically, higher solubility is equivalent to lower crystallization, and solubility of both sugars and polyols will increase with rising temperatures. Erythritol has a low degree of solubility, so and the higher the percentage of erythritol in formulation, the lower the solubility.
Crystallization is also an important consideration in shelflife. Crystallized sugars do not lower water activity (aw), so the higher the solubilization, the lower the aw. “The lower the aw, the longer the shelflife. Higher solubility equals lower crystallization and higher water-binding, which translates into less staling and longer shelflife,” clarified Riddell.
Humectancy is the ability of a substance to retain moisture while maintaining product integrity. Products that have humectant properties lower aw—sugar alcohols, for instance, have higher humectant properties than sucrose. Hygroscopicity, or the ability of a solid substance to absorb atmospheric water, also factors into shelflife quality. Sugar alcohols are less hygroscopic than sugars, thereby reducing the chance of clumping in storage.
Other sweetener properties taken into consideration in developing Batory Sweetener Essentials include freezing point depression, browning and fermentability. For example, for sugar reduction where browning is important, sugar alcohols would need to be combined with another reducing sugar; otherwise, browning will not occur. Regarding fermentability, allulose and erythritol are not fermentable ingredients and would not work in the brewing industry, noted Riddell. However, Batory Sweet Essentials B-Fiber, which contains soluble corn fiber, will allow a small amount of fermentation. “The blends aren’t going to ferment with yeast-raised products either,” added Riddell. “You would need to have a nutritive sweetener in the formulation so the yeast can grow and develop.”
All of the properties associated with sugar’s flavor balance, sweetness and functionality were taken into consideration in developing Batory Sweet Essentials for sugar reduction. “Sugar Reduction requires a delicate balance between flavor and function,” emphasized Riddell, who demonstrated a wide variety of applications in a video presented during the webinar. She was able to achieve significant sugar reduction ranging from 50%-90% in these versatile applications, with only minor adjustments to other functional ingredients and processing methods.
To view the webinar for product specifications and application ideas, go to:
To view other Global Food Forums’ Webinars, go to: https://globalfoodforums.com/global-food-forums-webinars/