Sucrose esters are used as emulsifiers, but also have added benefits across a range of applications, including bakery, confectionery, desserts, spreads and sauces. The new partnership will allow US-based customers better access to sucrose esters, Netherlands-based Sisterna said, with Helm offices and warehouses on the East and West coasts, as well as in the Midwest.
President of Helm New York Philipp Mangold told FoodNavigator-USA.com:
“Sucrose esters seem to be a really hot topic…There’s a lot of these applications that have only been developed in the past few years.”
In terms of emulsification, Mangold said that “price is not a selling point for sucrose esters”, but even though they may be more expensive than more commonly used emulsifiers like lecithin, they offer other functional benefits.
He said: “You would not use sucrose esters if another emulsifier did the job just as well as sucrose esters.”
However, sucrose esters have four distinct areas of advantage, Mangold said: Protein interaction, starch interaction, sugar crystallization, and aeration. The esters could be used, for example, to incorporate air into a mousse; in bakery products, starch interaction would come into play to prevent staling.
Sucrose esters would also work well in dessert products “if a customer wanted to do a very high-end product or have a very, very creamy mouthfeel”, and for panned confectionery, the panning process would be faster with better sugar crystallization.
Mangold explained that sucrose esters are considered to be ‘high-end emulsifiers’ as they cover a much broader range of hydrophilic-lipophilic balance (HLB) values than other emulsifiers like lecithin or glycerides, that are very specific to one particular area.
He said that while sucrose esters are manufactured, they are technically natural, in that they are “made from all-natural ingredients”, essentially sugar and fat, but there is still debate about what natural means, and the FDA has no set definition of the term. On product labels, the ingredient would be listed as “sucrose esters of fatty acids”.
Mangold said that so far, the positive functional aspects of sucrose esters have outweighed any concerns about how consumers might perceive them.
The Helm-Sisterna partnership effectively makes the Dutch company’s sucrose esters more accessible to the US market, with Helm New York taking over its technical, logistical and commercial support roles.
“Sisterna wanted to have someone closer to their customer, with them being in The Netherlands. Since we are offering other products to the same companies, there’s a certain synergy there,” Mangold said.