Galam is aiming to expand its fructose sweetener brand in the US as new supplies come on-stream that can meet demand for natural sweeteners, particularly for beverages.
The Israeli ingredients firm, which will be exhibiting at this year's IFT trade show in New Orleans in June for the first time, has previously been present in the US in niche markets such as health products seeking natural sweetness and/or non-GMO ingredients.
But Jacques Maman, corporate marketing manager, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that increasing availability of fructose on the one hand, coupled with increasing demand for natural sweeteners in general - and fructose in particular for use in flavored waters, functional drinks and beverage mixes - makes this "the right time to come with a more substantial offering".
He revealed that Galam has been developing sweetening solutions that are tailor-made for the beverage industry by combining its Fruitose fructose brand with other sweeteners. The aim has been to allow for products that can make low/no sugar, low calorie, low GI and 'suitable for diabetic' claims.
It is coupling this expertise with the supply of mineral gluconates and lactates for use in fortified beverages.
Fructose is a natural sweetener derived from sugar or corn that is available in liquid and crystalline form. It can be used in various applications including dairy, beverages and baked goods.
Galam claims to have found a way to manufacture fructose crystals with 99.5 per cent purity. Maman said details of the underlying technology are confidential.
No specific sales targets for Fruitose in the US have been disclosed, but according to Maman, annual worldwide production of fructose is around 350,000 metric tonnes.
While this is still just a fraction of sugar production, growing global demand, driven in part by new product categories like functional waters, has meant there has been a shortage in recent times.
In addition, fructose has been subject to increasing raw material costs (its sources are corn and sugar) and energy costs. In 2007 Galam saw the cost of fructose increase by between five and ten percent.
In November 2007 Galam announced a partnership with Tat Nisasta, a Turkish starch, glucose and isoglucose manufacturer, that is currently constructing a new plant.
When the new plant is complete, scheduled for the end of 2008, Galam will benefit from the global marketing and sales rights outside of Turkey to "thousands" more tonnes of fructose per year. The company has been coy about its precise capacity.
Galam, which has a 20 year history in fructose, has focused sales on the European market until now. It plans to supply the US market either from Turkey or from Israel.
Also towards the end of last year Galam acquired a major participate in the Spanish liquid sugar manufacturer Atomer.
As well as adding bulk to Galam's market position, this move also look Atomer's product into new markets, since it had previously been available only in Spain.
Galam also has majority participation in another liquid fructose manufacturer in Europe, Germany's Eurosweet.
Fructose is particularly appealing to consumers because of its low GI content. The GI measures how quickly certain foods release carbohydrates into the body, which then raise blood glucose levels. High GI foods cause blood sugar levels to rise more rapidly. Therefore, fructose is recommended for people with diabetes mellitus or hypoglycaemia.