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Will novel rare sugar allulose resonate with European consumers?

Allulose was approved for used in America in 2012, once the US Food and Drug Administration permitted its inclusion in a number of food and nutrition products. The ingredient has received regulatory backing in several other markets globally, including Mexico, Japan, Singapore and South Korea. In Europe, it really is currently working its way through the Novel Food process, awaiting the safety green light from EFSA.

With EFSA approval expected, German researchers made a decision to investigate if the novel rare sugar has characteristics that interest European consumers. To take action, the scientists analysed consumer preferences associated with four sweeteners: allulose, stevia, xylitol and erythritol.

Our paper demonstrates allulose has potential, first author Dr Kristin Jrkenbeck of the University of Goettingen told FoodNavigator.

What claims matter? From taste and naturalness to counting calories

Based on the study, that was published in journal Nutrients, when participants of an paid survey were asked to rank the significance of different characteristics when purchasing food, they said they pay most focus on naturalness, regional production, low sugar, and few additives.

When you compare the selling point of the four sweeteners, the researchers found taste was the main attribute. Taste is undoubtedly the most crucial one. It really is followed by the bottom product and the influence on the blood sugar level. Price, oral health, and calorie content were equally important, they concluded.

Allulose has similar functional properties as conventional sugar. It really is obtainable in crystalline powder and is easily dissolved in water. The sweetness of allulose is approximately 70% that of sucrose. Among its main advantages, the researchers suggested, is that it delivers an average sugar taste.

This is an obvious trend in the taste preferences consumers expressed. Typical sugar taste arrived top as the utmost popular flavour description, accompanied by sweet taste. Descriptions that pointed to an aftertaste, such as for example caramel or liquorice, weren’t favoured by consumers. Even the wording typical sugar taste with a hint of caramel includes a negative rating, the researchers concluded. This clearly demonstrates consumers prefer an average sugar taste or perhaps a sweet taste.

GettyImages Image Source taste test tasting flavour

Sugar-like taste was ranked the most crucial sweetener attribute / Pic: GettyImages Image Source

Perceived naturalness of the bottom sweetener was also flagged being an attribute that’s vital that you European shoppers. In this context, the analysis found stevia happens to be the most accepted base product.

One possibility could possibly be that the bottom product stevia can be the merchandise name with which it really is sold and is therefore well-known by consumers. However, stevia includes a sweet taste with a liquorice note, which actually had not been preferred by consumers. These contradicting results show that consumers may have very little understanding of the production of sweeteners. Providing consumers with information regarding the production process could increase their acceptance of sweeteners from natural base products. Another explanation could possibly be that consumers rate the bottom product stevia plant as natural but usually do not choose the taste of stevia, they suggested.

However, the researchers stressed, with an increase of information regarding allulose, consumers may find that the ingredient meets their expectations for perceived naturalness.

Allulose occurs naturally in fruit like figs, kiwis and raisins, but only in really small quantities. Using enzymes, the rare monosaccharide allulose can be acquired from corn starch, beet sugar or maize through enzymatic conversion.Extracting ingredients from sugar beets for sugar production could fulfil the consumers desire to have naturalness, the German researchers suggested.

When asked to rate the significance of different attributes associated with allulose separately not comparing it with other sweeteners the researchers saw a fascinating shift. The outcomes of the ranking task show that the attribute degree of allulose of no influence on blood sugar level was most significant to respondents, accompanied by calorie-free, they noted.

GettyImages-DMPhoto blood sugar glucose diabetes

When taking into consideration the great things about allulose, consumers flagged influence on blood sugar as an essential aspect / Pic: GettyImages-DMPhoto

Allulose includes a calorific value of 0.4kcal/g just 10% of the calories of sucralose. Additionally, allulose has many health benefits compared to conventional sugar, including no influence on blood sugar levels (glycemic control).Diets supplemented with allulose are suggested to avoid obesity and diabetes, the analysis noted.

Just what exactly does all of this mean for businesses that are looking to leverage allulose within their reformulation efforts in Europe? The derivation of commercial solutions marketing and strategy recommendations should be derived here by companies themselves, Dr Jrkenbeck told us.

In the marketing of sweeteners, a multitude of characteristics could possibly be found in communication. Conceivable topics include, for instance, calories, naturalness, taste, or health aspects.

‘We expect allulose to be received well by customers and consumers’

Ingredient manufacturer Tate & Lyle is bullish on the outlook for allulose in Europe, where it believes its functional characteristics will undoubtedly be a significant addition to sugar reduction efforts.

It could be difficult to attain parity with sugar when it comes to taste. While high sweetness levels can frequently be achieved using different sweetening ingredients, a really sugar-like taste without the noticeable off taste could be very challenging, Abigail Storms, Global Head of Sweeteners at Tate & Lyle, told FoodNavigator.

High intensity sweeteners provide sweetness minus the other functional properties of sucralose, that may impact texture. This implies formulators often have to use multiple ingredients in combination: with intense sweeteners providing sugar-like taste, while bulk sweeteners or fibres are accustomed to build back texture. On the other hand, Storms explained, allulose can offer bulk and sweetness. Allulose offers a significant addition to the sugar replacement toolbox since it contributes an extra benefit for the reason that it behaves like sugar and will provide both bulking and sweetness in drink and food products, while reducing calories and the necessity for additional ingredients to be utilized.

Does she believe consumers will view allulose as an all natural ingredient? Most allulose is, in the end, produced on a commercial scale with a complex, multi-step enzymatic process.

Storms recognised demand for clean labels and a desire to have things that consumers can understand and pronounce. And she believes allulose can meet up with the brief.

GettyImages-Yuji Sakai kiwi fruit

Allulose occurs naturally in fruits such as for example kiwis… but only in smaller amounts / Pic: GettyImages-Yuji Sakai

Allulose is really a rare, virtually calorie-free sugar that exists in nature using fruits, such as for example figs and raisins. In commercial use allulose is made of corn starch, but where approved it really is simply labelled as allulose relative to the mandatory food labelling legislation. That is like the approach taken for most commonly consumed food ingredients such as for example sucrose (where in fact the way to obtain beet or cane sugar is not needed to be specified), citric acid (that’s created by fermentation utilizing a molasses or corn material) and also vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that is commonly produced form glucose which itself is manufactured out of corn.

Without referring specifically to an extraction process, individuals are thinking about non-artificial sweeteners and the ones that are within nature. Allulose is naturally within figs and raisins, which resonates with consumers because they make their food ingredient choices, she elaborated.

Allulose provides the meals formulator with a sugar and calorie reduction tool that delivers several attributes needed for successful product formulation and reformulation. Many taste challenges, previously experienced when formulating with low no calorie sweeteners, are overcome with allulose when it’s used alone or in conjunction with other sweeteners Additionally, allulose provides other sugar-like characteristics necessary for a sugar-like taste performance such as for example body, mouthfeel, texture, browning along with other sugar-related physical performance properties.

In Europe, we expect allulose to be received well by customers and consumers, since it has in markets where it’s already approved and used.

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