Will the new rare sugar allulose resonate with European consumers

Allulose was approved for use in the United States in 2012 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed it to be included in a variety of foods and foods. The ingredient has received regulatory support in many other markets worldwide, including Mexico, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. In Europe, it is currently going through a new food process, awaiting safety approval from the EFSA.
After receiving “anticipated” approval from the European Food Safety Authority, German researchers set out to find out if a new rare sugar has properties that will appeal to European consumers. To do this, scientists analyzed consumer preferences for four sweeteners: allulose, stevia, xylitol and erythritol.
“Our work shows that allulose has potential,” lead author Dr. Christine Jürkenbeck from the University of Göttingen told FoodNavigator.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrition, when asked to rate the importance of various attributes when shopping for food, participants in an online survey responded that they were most concerned about organic, regionally produced, low sugar, and low sugar. additives.
When comparing the attractiveness of four sweeteners, the researchers found that taste was the most important attribute. “Taste is by far the most important. Then comes the main product and the effect on blood sugar levels. Price, dental health and calorie content are equally important,” they conclude.
Allulose has similar functional properties to traditional sugars. It is available as a crystalline powder and dissolves easily in water. The sweetness of allulose is about 70% that of sucrose. Researchers say one of its main benefits is that it has a “typical sugar taste.”
This is a clear trend in taste preferences expressed by consumers. “Usually sweet” was the most popular flavor description, followed by “sweet”. Descriptions that indicate aftertaste, such as caramel or licorice, are not liked by consumers. “Even the term ‘typical sugary taste with a touch of caramel’ had a negative reputation,” the researchers concluded. “This is a clear indication that consumers prefer typical sweet or sweet flavors.”
The perceived “naturalness” of base sweeteners was also noted as an important attribute for European buyers. In this case, the study found that stevia is currently the “most popular staple.”
“One possibility is that the base product ‘stevia’ is also the name of the product under which it is marketed, so it is known to consumers. However, the sweetness of stevia has a licorice flavor that consumers don’t really like. These conflicting results suggest that consumers may be poorly informed about the production of sweeteners Providing consumers with information about the manufacturing process may increase their acceptance of natural-based sweeteners Another explanation could be Yes, consumers perceive the stevia plant base product as natural, but do not like the taste stevia,” they advise.
However, the researchers emphasize that as more information about allulose becomes available, consumers may find that this ingredient lives up to their expectations for perceived “naturalness.”
Allulose is naturally found in fruits such as figs, kiwis, and raisins, but in very small amounts. Using enzymes, the rare monosaccharide psicose can be obtained from cornstarch, beet sugar, or corn by enzymatic conversion. “Extracting ingredients from beets to make sugar could satisfy consumer demand for natural products,” the German researchers suggest.
When asked to individually rate the importance of various attributes associated with allulose, rather than comparing it to other sweeteners, the researchers found an interesting shift. “The ranking results showed that the level of the allulose attribute ‘does not affect blood sugar’ was the most important for respondents, followed by ‘no calories’,” they note.
The calorie content of allulose is 0.4 kcal/g, which is only 10% of the calorie content of sucralose. In addition, allulose has many health benefits over traditional sugars, including no effect on blood sugar levels (glycemic control). “Dietary supplementation with allulose is recommended for protection against obesity and diabetes,” the study says.
So what does all this mean for companies looking to reformulate in Europe? “Marketing business decisions and strategic advice must be obtained here by the company itself,” Dr. Jürkenbeck tells us.
“In the marketing of sweeteners, a wide range of characteristics can be used to communicate. Possible topics include, for example, calorie content, naturalness, taste, or health aspects.”
Ingredient maker Tate & Lyle is optimistic about the prospects for allulose in Europe, saying its functional properties will be an important addition to sugar reduction efforts.
“It’s hard to compare to sugar in terms of taste. While high sweetness levels can often be achieved using different sweetening ingredients, a truly sugar-like taste without any noticeable ‘off’ taste can be quite challenging,”​ Abigail Storms, Global Head of Sweeteners at Tate & Lyle, told FoodNavigator. While high sweetness levels can often be achieved using different sweetening ingredients, a truly sugar-like taste without any noticeable ‘off’ can be quite challenging,”​ Abigail Storms, Global Head of Sweeteners at Tate & Lyle, told FoodNavigator. В то время как высокие уровни сладости часто могут быть достигнуты с использованием различных подсластителей, действительно сахароподобный вкус без какого-либо заметного «неприятного» привкуса может быть довольно сложным», — сказала FoodNavigator Эбигейл Стормс, глобальный руководитель отдела подсластителей в Tate & Lyle. While high levels of sweetness can often be achieved using a variety of sweeteners, a truly sugar-like flavor without any noticeable ‘off’ flavor can be quite challenging,” Abigail Storms, Global Head of Sweeteners at Tate & Lyle, told FoodNavigator.虽然使用不同的甜味剂成分通常可以达到高甜度水平,但真正像糖一样的味道而没有任何明显的’异味’味道可能非常具有挑战性,”Tate & Lyle 甜味剂全球负责人Abigail Storms 告诉FoodNavigator。虽然 使用 不同 的 甜味剂 成分 可以 达到 高甜度 水平 但 真正 像 糖 一样 的 而 没有 任何 的 的 ‘异味’ 味道 非常 具有 挑战性 , , , , & Lyle 甜味剂 负责人 Abigail storms FoodNavigator。 В то время как высокие уровни сладости часто могут быть достигнуты с использованием различных подсластителей, действительно сахароподобные вкусы без каких-либо заметных «неприятных» вкусов могут быть довольно сложными», — сказала Эбигейл Стормс, глобальный руководитель отдела подсластителей Tate & Lyle Tell FoodNavigator. While high levels of sweetness can often be achieved using a variety of sweeteners, truly sugar-like flavors without any noticeable ‘off’ tastes can be quite challenging,” said Abigail Storms, Global Head of Sweeteners at Tate & Lyle Tell FoodNavigator.
High intensity sweeteners provide sweetness, but without the other functional properties of sucralose that affect texture. This means that developers often have to combine ingredients: use intense sweeteners to add a sugar-like flavor, and bulky sweeteners or fiber to improve texture. In contrast, allulose provides both volume and sweetness, Storms explained. “Allulose is an important addition to the sugar replacement toolbox because it has the added benefit of acting like sugar, providing bulk and sweetness to foods and drinks while reducing calories and the need for additional ingredients.”
Does she believe that consumers will view allulose as a “natural” ingredient? After all, most allulose is produced commercially through a complex, multi-step enzymatic process.
Storms recognizes the need for clean labels and the desire for ingredients that consumers can understand and pronounce. She believes that temptation can fulfill a request.
“Allulose is a rare, virtually calorie-free sugar that occurs naturally in some fruits such as figs and raisins. Commercially, allulose is made from cornstarch, but subject to required food labeling regulations. This is similar to the approach taken for many commonly used food ingredients such as sucrose (the source of beet sugar or sucrose need not be specified), citric acid (fermented using molasses or raw corn), and even vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are often made from glucose, which is itself produced from corn.
“While there is no specific mention of an ‘extraction’ process, consumers are interested in non-artificial sweeteners and ‘naturally occurring’ sweeteners. This resonates with the choice of food ingredients,” she elaborates.
“Allulose will provide food developers with a sugar and calorie reduction tool that provides many of the characteristics needed for successful product development and reformulation. Allulose, previously encountered in formulating low-calorie and no-calorie sweeteners, can solve many of the taste problems associated with sugar. , when used alone or in combination with other sweeteners… In addition, allulose provides other sugar-like properties to achieve a sugar-like taste, such as body, mouthfeel, texture, browning, and other physical characteristics associated with sugar.
“We expect allulose to be as popular with customers and consumers in Europe as it is in markets where it is already approved and used.”
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Related topics: Market trends, Bakery, Beverages, Confectionery, Dairy products, Health food, Prepared foods, Snacks, Diet and health, Natural and clean label, Reformulation, Carbohydrates and fiber (sugars, starches), Cereals and bakery products, Chocolate & Confectionery Ingredients, Flavors & Colors, Sweeteners (Intense, Bulk, Polyols), Innovation & NPD
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Post time: Nov-22-2022