Low and zero calorie formulas driven by erythritol’s uniqueness
With a unique combination of functional benefits, Zerose® erythritol creates innovative possibilities for zero or reduced calorie foods and beverages
Obesity and diabetes continue to dominate the list of U.S. health concerns. As a result, there is a vital and growing market for versatile, zero calorie sugar substitutes. However, sugar serves numerous functions in food: it influences sweetness but also overall taste performance based on its own taste and through its interactions with other ingredients. Being a bulk ingredient sweetener, sugar also contributes to texture and subsequently to the technological behavior of food systems.
Polyol sweeteners, mainly based on starch derivatives, were first developed in the 1930s and have been used to replace sugar in a wide range of applications. Commonly used polyols include sorbitol, maltitol, isomalt, xylitol, mannitol, lactitol and recently, erythritol.
Erythritol is a different type of polyol. Despite its chemical sounding name, erythritol is actually a naturally occurring substance found in fruits and fermented foods. Erythritol has several advantages over all other polyols:
- It is the only polyol that has zero calories (For US and Mexico only. Canada is 0.2 kcal/g)
- It has the highest digestive tolerance out of all the polyols
- It is found naturally in fruits such as melons and pears, and in fermented foods including soy sauce and wine
- It is produced via a proprietary natural fermentation process and not hydrogenation
- It is non-glycemic and non-insulinemic
- It has low hygroscopicity
- It is non-cariogenic (tooth friendly)
- It possesses a sugar-like sweetness profile
- It masks the off-flavors of vitamins and minerals
- It has beneficial synergies with high intensity sweeteners (i.e. aspartame, sucralose, rebiana, etc.)
“Erythritol is very close in taste, sweetness and mouthfeel to sucrose. It is the missing link between the sweet products to which most people are accustomed and the ‘better for you’ products they are trying to train their palates to enjoy,” notes Timothy Bauer, global product manager for Zerose® erythritol. It is GRAS in the US and approved globally in many countries.
Erythritol’s versatility allows its use in a wide range of applications such as beverages, confections, dairy and frozen desserts, baking, tabletop sweetener, and pharmaceutical applications.
Surprisingly, it’s not the high digestive tolerance or even the non-glycemic properties that make erythritol attractive. “Zerose® erythritol’s ability to mask the off-flavors of other ingredients means it solves a more practical challenge,” confirms Bauer. “It is ideal for usage as a zero calorie sweetener in nutrient-enhanced beverages.” Another attractive aspect of erythritol is that it qualifies for a natural claim in the US.
Beverages may be the largest but they are by no means the only category where there has been a significant interest in erythritol usage. “It is becoming a popular ingredient among confection manufacturers,” says Ravi Nana, an erythritol application specialist. He explains that hard candy and chewing gum manufacturer customers are choosing to use Zerose® erythritol because it hides other high intensity sweeteners while enhancing the fruit flavors. “Erythritol simply improves the consumer’s overall sensory experience.”
Erythritol is also enabling consumers to enjoy great tasting chocolate without the guilt. “With erythritol, manufacturers can make both sugar-free and calorie reduction claims in the same product,” says Nana. Dairy and bakery are the next big growth areas for erythritol in the North America. With Bakery applications, a well-balanced sweetener blend can come even closer to replicating sugar than a single sweetener. Erythritol has been found to be ideal for both blending with high Intensity sweeteners and other bulk sweeteners in applications such as muffins and cakes.
Partial and complete sweetener replacement must no longer lead to significant deficiency in taste, texture and digestibility. Erythritol’s uniqueness sets it apart from all other polyols. Zerose® erythritol is available in North America and globally in many other countries.
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