2018 Sweeteners Systems Conference

Originally Published: August 9, 2018
Last Updated: February 4, 2021

Global Food Forums’ 2018 Sweeteners Systems Conference was held at the Hyatt Lodge, McDonald’s Campus, Oak Brook, Ill. USA. Properties and interactions of a range of ingredients that impact the sweetness perception and performance of finished products were covered. Presentations included updates on consumer attitudes, ingredient labeling and nutritional aspects; sensory insights, tactics for reduced sugar formulating and emerging technologies among others.



  • Understanding Shopper Attitudes Towards Sweeteners in the US and Beyond

Speaker: Julie Johnson, General Manager, HealthFocus International

Concern about sugar and other sweeteners continues to be an issue for shoppers. Sugar reduction remains top of mind with most of the world agreeing that decreasing sugar makes foods and beverages healthier. The answer is not that simple though. Consumers still have expectations for sweetness in certain categories, and the rise in eating cleaner and more natural makes artificial sweeteners an uncertain choice. What’s left is a confusing market for both sugar and artificial sweeteners. This presentation discussed where people stand on sweeteners overall in relation to other dietary factors, the balance between sugar reduction, artificial sweeteners, and clean eating, and how positively or negatively individual sweeteners are rated.

  • A FDA Update: Sugary Ingredients’ Impact on Added Sugar Labeling

Speaker: Lauren Swann, MS, RD, LDN, CEO and President, Concept Nutrition, Inc.

Both the Nutrition Facts panel and labeled ingredient lists can influence or even drive product development. This creates a challenge in that this disclosure must meet regulatory compliance, support brand positioning and ultimately provide unique competitive marketing appeal for the product. FDA regulations—intended to support public health goals—initially required that some longstanding marketplace ingredients count towards the newly mandated “added sugars” amounts in the 2016 Nutrition Facts label update. The federal government publishes guidance to assist industry in applying regulations and along with the subsequently generated stakeholder feedback, new rules and expectations continue to evolve. This presentation addressed added-sugars, their recent FDA updates and ingredient and product labeling implications.

  • Reducing Added Sugars: Will it Reverse the Trend towards Overweight & Obesity?

Speaker: John S. White, Ph.D., President and Founder, WHITE Technical Research

Added sugars have been enjoyed for millennia. They add enjoyment to meals, while providing energy and improving the palatability and functionality of foods. Added sugars have recently come under intense pressure, being promoted by health critics and agencies as singularly responsible for the current crisis of obesity and related diseases. From this pressure have emerged ingredient-specific public health policies and product-specific taxes, aimed at curbing consumption of added sugars. But is it reasonable to expect a reduction in added sugars to reverse the upward trend in overweight/obesity? This presentation will review the strength of scientific evidence against added sugars and the likelihood that regulatory policy and taxation efforts will be successful.

  • Replication of Sugar Taste Enabled by Taste Modulators & Enhancers

Speaker: Grant E DuBois, Ph.D., Consultant, Sweetness Technologies, LLC

Pressure on food and beverage companies to reduce sugar-derived calories continues to intensify due to the obesity and diabetes epidemics and, more recently, taxation and labeling requirements. Synthetic and natural non-caloric sweetener substitution for sugars is increasingly employed to enable the desired caloric reduction. However, such sweeteners consistently fall short of sugar taste quality. There are four reasons for this: off-tastes, such as bitter, metallic, licorice-like, etc.; temporal issues, i.e., delayed sweetness onset or sweetness linger; adaptation/ desensitization effects; and body or mouthfeel shortcomings. Approaches for the mitigation of these effects will be discussed. Use of enhancers of sugar sweetness is a second approach to reduce calories. The current state of use of positive allosteric modulators (PAMs) as well as other enhancers will be discussed.

  • 3rd Generation Stevia Extracts: Neuroscience, Ingredient Technologies & Food Applications

Speaker: Alex Woo, Ph.D., CEO and Founder, W2O Food Innovation

Second generation stevia extracts were all about high purity Rebaudioside-A (RA), the higher the purity the better the taste. Farm-based 3rd generation stevia extracts are the newer two and and three-way blends of Rebaudiosides (types A, B, C, D, and M) for even more sugar-like taste but at higher cost. Alternatively, fermentation or enzymology-based stevia already co-exist in 2018. Enzymatically modified stevia extracts are sweet taste enhancers that can be used as part of the “Stacking” strategy, together with monk fruit and erythritol, for clean label sugar reduction. This presentation provides insights into practical and economical approaches to decrease sugar through the use of emerging ingredients and optional ingredient blends.

  • Analytical Methods for Walking on the Lawful Side of Sugars, Dietary Fiber and Bioactive Sweeteners

Speaker: David Plank, Managing Principal, WRSS Food & Nutrition Insights; and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota

Most manufacturers must comply with FDA requirements for updated nutrition label information by January 1, 2020. FDA’s interpretation of “added sugar” and “dietary fiber” definitions have been evolving. The definitions have led to interest in use of consumer-friendly dietary fibers to sweeten products without increasing net carbs or added sugars on a label. However, this type of formulation may set up a company for legal actions. This presentation will discuss the valid analytical methods that you can use for selection of sweetener ingredients that conform with the new FDA regulations. A new class of sugar sweeteners with the health benefits of dietary fiber will also be discussed.

Applications Panel: Technical Tips for Sugar Reduction


  • 5 Tips for Reducing Sugar in Bars & Baked Goods
     Melanie Goulson, MSc, General Manager, Merlin Development



  • Reducing Sugar in Frozen Dairy & Novelty Desserts
     Jonathan Hopkinson, Ph.D., Technology Consultant, Frozen Desserts



  • Practical Sensory Tools to Use in Evaluating Sugar Reduction Efforts
    – Judy Lindsey, General Manager of Brisan Group (previously Product Dynamics, a division of RQA, Inc.)