Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2019-08-26 Origin: Site
Natural sweeteners are a major target for companies looking to make nature-identical food ingredients, but if they are produced in a lab rather than extracted from a plant, will consumers accept them as natural?
Companies looking to make nature-identical ingredients focus on growing sectors like natural sweeteners because they potentially hold the greatest reward. The processes used are not straightforward, but if they can succeed in scaling up production of rare molecules, they could bring the cost of natural sweeteners down by decoupling the most desirable compounds from their agricultural origins. However, if consumers can no longer tell whether an ingredient actually comes from nature or not, many commentators have suggested that the appeal of some natural ingredients could fade altogether.
What is Allulose？
Allulose is described as a naturally occurring sugar found in fruits and foods such as raisins, figs, kiwis and brown sugar.
Allulose Low-Calorie Sugar is claimed to provide a clean, satisfying sweetness to beverage, bakery, frozen, confectionery and dairy applications. Allulose is said to perform like sugar in formulations and to deliver the sweet satisfaction consumers crave. According to report, Allulose is recognised by the taste buds as a simple sugar and yet is not metabolised and has no impact on blood glucose levels.
Meanwhile, a German start-up called Savanna Ingredients claims to have found a way to scale up production of allulose, a low-calorie natural sugar that is found in very small quantities in nature, in foods such as figs, raisins, molasses and maple syrup. The company says its method uses enzymes to synthesise allulose from sugar beets. So far, the use of allulose in foods has been limited, but if Savanna Ingredients succeeds in scaling up the process, it could open the door to further products containing the sweetener, which has just 0.2 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram in sugar.
What is consumer’s attitude to the ‘natural ingredients’ in lab?
Of course, what consumers say they want and what they actually buy often differ. Several studies have suggested that what matters most to shoppers is taste, price, convenience and nutrition. Only if expectations for these attributes are met do consumers start to consider other values, such as naturalness and ethical standards. But increasingly, consumers are rejecting artificial sweeteners, and manufacturers are responding with affordable, good-tasting natural alternatives.
When it comes to the burgeoning market for natural ingredients, suppliers face an enormously difficult task. Many have found sophisticated technologies that allow them to scale up the production of ingredients found in nature – but they must also convince consumers that these technologies are incidental.