Delves into the complexity of replacing sucrose for flavor and functionality
BOSTON, MA – April 4, 2018 – In the face of quickly rising global obesity and diabetes rates, there is a high-stakes and high-tech race to find new and better ways to reduce and replace sucrose across the food and beverage industry. To identify which sugar reduction technologies are best positioned to replace or reduce sucrose, Lux Research, a leading provider of research and advisory services about technology innovation, has benchmarked 20 different alternative sweeteners using a proprietary scoring framework.
The report, "The State of Innovation in Sugar Reduction: 2018 Edition," tackles the complexity of replacing sucrose in both flavor and functionality and outlines the line-up of alternative sweetener technology options being evaluated and implemented by food and beverage companies.
The findings reveal that no single approach or technology will readily serve as an across-the-board sugar replacement. Instead, the findings show, the key to advancing this market is likely choosing sugar reduction technologies strategically, and potentially in combination, to suit not only flavor needs but also production and cost requirements.
"Our analysis reaffirms that there is no clear front-runner solution," said Thomas Hayes, the lead researcher on the Lux report. "Novel approaches like physical modifications certainly hold promise, and lagging solutions like sweet proteins can essentially be ignored. But, because no 'one solution solves all,' we anticipate seeing product development efforts turn toward more blended solutions, such as high- and low-intensity sweeteners mixed together or sweeteners paired with bulking agents, to better match the functional properties of sucrose beyond sweetness."
Top Sugar Replacement Technology Options
As part of the benchmarking process, the team at Lux evaluated 20 sweeteners from eight different categories ranging from whole foods, such as agave and molasses, and sweet proteins, including brazzein and thaumatin, to high-intensity offerings, for example aspartame and sucralose, and sugar alcohols, specifically erythritol and xylitol.
The potential for each sweetener was measured against list of common parameters including taste profile, calorie density, regulatory status and cost in use. Using this analysis, silica-sugar crystals, which falls into the physical modifications category of sweetener, earned top marks for potential. However, when overlaid onto a graph showing the maturity and level of commercialization, silica-sugar-crystals fall squarely in the "development" stage.
Honey and molasses, two options from whole food sweetener category, tied for second place in the rankings for sugar replacement potential. They land on the "scale" stage in terms of maturity and level of commercialization.
The naturally derived sweetener Monatin, which is in the "lab" stage of development, earned the lowest ranking for potential followed by the two sweet proteins of Monellin and Brazzein and, which are in the "lab" and bridging the "lab" and "development" stages respectively.
For more details and the complete ranking, download the executive summary.