Isomalt achieves Novel Food approval from China

By Anthony Fletcher

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sugar substitute

The sugar replacer Isomalt has become the first non-Chinese food to
pass the Novel Food approval process set by the Chinese Ministry of
Health, according to maker Palatinit.

The approval will allow Isomalt to be labelled as a "New Resource Food"​ instead of just an "additive"​.

This could make the ingredient more attractive to food makers intent on capitalising on China's nascent drive towards healthier food products.

It could also help the company to differentiate its ingredient from similar products on the market. Palatinit claims that most other polyols have been approved under the food additive standard, as opposed to the more difficult, but potentially higher value, novel food standard.

The Chinese food market remains relatively untapped, though this is beginning to change. According to Jean Martin, president of CIAA, food exports to China increased by an impressive 24 per cent in 2005 to reach almost €800 million.

Palatinit sees China as the upcoming market for sugar-free products. Malcolm McIntyre, the company's UK communications consultant, pointed out recently that the country's sugar-free gum market experienced a growth rate of 146 per cent in 2005 over the previous year.

Isomalt provides 1:1 sugar replacement solutions for sugar free and sugar-reduced applications including hard-boiled confectionery, chewy sweets, chewing gums, coated pellets, baked goods and chocolates. Palatinit also claims that the ingredient providing a natural taste experience for consumers.

In Europe, the sugar-free confectionery revolution has been most consolidated in the chewing gum sector. Palatinit claims that the majority of chewing gum sold worldwide today is sugar-free, with Spain having a 100 per cent market share. In France where sugar-free has a market share of 88 per cent - traditional sugar chewing gum consumption was down 16 per cent against a 13 per cent rise in sales of the sugar-free alternatives.

Palatinit certainly hopes therefore that China will follow Western patterns of consumption and move towards sugar-free alternatives as well.

At CME China, which runs from the 8 to 9 November 2006, Palatinit will be presenting its portfolio of application-tailored Isomalt variants designed to meet the growing interest and demand from Chinese food and health food manufacturers for nutritive bulk sweetener products. The Germany-based firm will also be delivering a lecture at the show on the sugar-confectionery market.

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