Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at IFT in Las Vegas last week, Nutrinova’s technical manager, Americas, Paul Kim said that although the company has been making its Sunett sweetener for more than 50 years, the new Sunsation Sunett SL formula is closer to sugar in its taste profile, and provides reproducible sweetness across categories.
The sweetener system is a patent pending blend of ace-K, sucralose and flavors.
“There have been high intensity sweeteners out there for a long time. But in the industry we tend to describe the taste of high intensity sweeteners as having a ‘diet’ taste. We are trying to eliminate that,” Kim said.
Regional sales director, Americas, Terry Stover added: “We are trying to do this in a way that simplifies the product development cycle. It is a drop-in solution. …We were finding that the sweetness was very reproducible across beverage, dairy and so on, which is what is quite exciting about this.”
Kim said that the company came at the problem of making a sugar-replacing sweetener from a different perspective from other firms, starting with asking why consumers are interested in reduced sugar and zero sugar products, and what they expect from such formulations.
“What consumers are saying is that they want to go to the reduced calorie products but they just don’t like the taste,” he said. “…If you are talking about cutting calories to go from 100 calories to zero [without changing the flavor], we are probably not quite there, but is that really what consumers want? Diet consumers may not want a sugar taste, but they might want a very clean sweet taste.”
The new sweetener system is intended to mimic not only the sweetness of sugar, but also the mouthfeel. Stover added that providing one system to replace sugar has logistical advantages too, limiting the number of distributors and suppliers a food or beverage manufacturer would need to deal with.