Restructuring Sweeteners To Reduce Sugar

Formulators seeking sweeteners to aid in sugar reduction efforts should know the sweeteners themselves are changing. Structural changes, fermentation research and growing methods for plants that contain sweetener extracts are bringing new ingredients to market. Even the sugar molecule itself may be altered, as evidenced by research from Nestle S.A., Vevey, Switzerland.


Yet one ingredient alone may not lead to successful sugar reduction. A blend of bulking agents and high-intensity sweeteners may be required. A report from Boston-based Lux Research called “The state of innovation in sugar reduction: 2018 edition” promotes the blended approach. Lux Research evaluated 20 alternative sweeteners.

“Our analysis reaffirms that there is no clear front-runner solution,” the report said. “Clients will need to choose sugar reduction technologies thoughtfully, potentially in combination, to achieve their strategic goals.”

A breakthrough in restructuring sugar was announced late in 2016 by Nestle S.A. The company’s researchers transformed the structure of sugar through a process using natural ingredients. The aerated, porous particles of sugar dissolve more quickly in the mouth, which allows people to perceive the same level of sweetness as before while consuming less sugar.

Nestle U.K. and Ireland in March of this year unveiled Milkybar Wowsomes containing the restructured sugar. With 30% less sugar than similar chocolate products, Milkybar Wowsomes contains no artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colors or flavorings.

Novel approaches like physical modifications hold promise, according to the Lux Research report.

The report praised a patented sugar reduction system from DouxMatok, Petach Tikva, Israel, although it placed DouxMatok in the development stage. Under the system, sugar is loaded onto silica. The silica acts as a transport vehicle to release the sugar onto the sweet taste receptors in the mouth, which means more of the sugar arrives at the site of the sweet taste to enhance the perception of sweetness, said Tom Hayes, research associate for Lux Research. The sweetener works especially well in chocolate, he added.

“There’s no difference in taste,” he said. “Inherently you’re not going to get a lot of off-taste that quite a few of the alternative sweeteners have.”

Sugar reductions of up to 40% may be achieved in products while retaining the same taste profile, according to DouxMatok, which means “double sweet” in Hebrew. The company in September 2017 announced it had received $8.1 million in funding to commercialize the sugar reduction system.