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New erythritol sweetening brand announced

By Sarah Hills , 05-Aug-2008

Corn Products Specialty Ingredients has added its own brand of erythritol to the market, focusing on customized sweetener systems to improve performance when combined with other sweeteners.

The company says it is using its proprietary technology to meet products development needs and reap the benefits of using erythritol, which can include improved mouth-feel and body.

Erythritol is a polyol that occurs at low levels in many fruits and at higher levels in fermented foods such as soy sauce, cheese, wine and beer.

It is used to reduce or replace traditional sweeteners in low-sugar food and beverage applications and the benefits include low-calorie content, low GI index and a low laxative effect.

Corn Products new erythritol and erythritol-containing sweetening systems comes under the brand ERYSTA and the company said it can be used alone or in combination with other polyols and sweeteners.

A spokeswoman for Corn Products told FoodNavaigator-USA.com that there is a need in the market for improved sweetener functionality in sugar-free and reduced-sugar foods and confectionery formulations.

She said: “Industry is beginning to turn to sweetener systems that can cost-effectively offer enhanced sweetness, taste and functionality, along with the convenience of single-ingredient delivery for ease of use in manufacturing.

“An important focus for us is on the development of customized sweetener systems containing erythritol.

“There are often also synergistic advantages achieved when erythritol is used in combination with other polyols and/or sweeteners.

“In addition to helping reduce calories and minimize laxation concerns related to some less rapidly absorbed polyols, additional synergistic benefits may include improved sweetness, mouthfeel, body and/or masking of off-notes.”

She said that they were using proprietary integration technology designed to maximize performance and versatility of polyols in formulation. This allows them to “customize a polyol-based system to meet a wide variety of sugar-free and reduced-sugar product development needs”.

Corn Products would not reveal the source of their erythritol. In the US Cargill is a major supplier of erythritol, along with Rochem, which sources a lot of its products from China, while in Europe it is Jungbunzlauer.

Low-calorie claim

Erythritol is a white, crystalline, odorless powder is approximately 70 percent as sweet as sucrose with a clean, sweet taste similar to sucrose.

At 0.2 calories per gram, erythritol has approximately seven percent to 13 percent the calories of other polyols and five percent the calories of sucrose.

Erythritol has been allowed for use in the US since 1997 where it can be described as natural and low-calorie.

In Europe, despite its low calorie measure per gram, regulations mean it cannot be flagged up to consumers there as low calorie because it is classified as a polyol (a sugar alcohol).

EU rules state that polyols can only claim to contain 2.4 kcal/g of the sweetener, as opposed to 4kcal/g for sugar. But EU nutrition and health claims regulation allows a low calorie claim to be made on products that contain less than 40 kcal per 100g.

Meanwhile the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has agreed that erythritol's calorie status is zero but this is yet to be approved at the committee stage.

In May Cargill, a supplier of erythritol in the US, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that manufacturers are getting more adventurous over erythritol use since it gained EU-wide approval (in 2006) but the real boom will come when they can make a low-calorie claim in Europe.

Corn Products International

Corn Products Specialty Ingredients is part of Corn Products International which supplies food ingredients and industrial products derived from the wet milling and processing of corn and other starch-based materials. It is a worldwide supplier of dextrose and a major regional producer in the US of starch, high fructose corn syrup and glucose.

In 2007, CPI reported record net sales and diluted earnings per share of $3.4 billion and $2.59, respectively, with operations in 15 countries.

In June it was announced that Bunge had signed a definitive agreement to acquire CPI for around $4.8bn.

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