The flavor specialist first introduced Evoglass about a decade ago. The ingredient is an extruded glassy matrix that is carbohydrate-based and in which the flavor is embedded. It is suitable for use in a variety of candy formats, as well as over-the-counter health care products and in toppings for bakery and dairy goods, and meal replacement bars. While the original Evoglass could not be considered sugarless because the carrier is a multidextrine, Sugarless Evoglass has a carrier made from another, non-sugar carbohydrate that is non-cariogenic. Dona Rosa, business development manager at Symrise, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that the new version was developed in response to an upsurge in demand for sugar-free candy in the United States. "That is where the growth in the confectionery market is." Rosa was not able to give details on what the sugarless carrier consists of, since that information is proprietary. But she described the capsules as like "really tiny hard candies". "[Evoglass] is very protective," she said, "especially for flavors that oxidise, such as citrus." In addition to good flavor release, it gives interesting eye appeal, appearing as little colored specks on the surface of the product. The company says these specks could serve as a "consumer cue" that a functional ingredient has been added. Evoglass has also found uses by beverage manufacturers, particularly in tea bags, where powdered flavors have a tendency to slip through the perforations. In addition to the sugarless claim, the company also found that the new version comes with some technical benefits. For instance, the capsules are harder, and do not dissolve in hard candy. Although the original Evoglass can be used for hard candies, Rosa said it needed to be added at a late stage in the process, and not stirred too much. The new version is also more humidity stable, which can help prevent color bleed in pressed tablets, which are often held in high humidity conditions. And it dissolves in the mouth at the same rate as the base candy, so it does not leave a pitted surface that can affect mouthfeel. Neither the original nor the sugarless version does, in itself, have a sweet taste, although Rosa said that a sweetener can be added as part of the flavor component. Since Symrise first released Evoglass on the market, it has been upgraded on three previous occasions as new technology has allowed for improvements. The new Sugarless Evoglass is the first time Symrise has managed to make a sugarless version. Symrise will continue to sell the maltodextrine Evoglass. Sugarless Evoglass is being launched in the US market in the first instance, but it is expected to be launched in other global markets at a later date. According to Mintel, US sales of the sugar-free category, including confectionery (chocolate and non-chocolate), gum and beverages reached $8.8 bn in 2006. This represents an increase of 42 percent on 2001 figures (or 26 percent in constant 2006 prices). Sales of sugar-free non-chocolate confectionery, which make up one percent of the market and has been bolstered by sugar-free versions of popular brands, grew 9.9 percent. By contrast, sales of non-chocolate sugar confectionery were worth around $3.1 bn in 2006, representing a 10 percent decrease in constant dollars since 2001. By 2006 prices sales increased a bit, by three percent, however. Sugar-free chocolate confectionery, on the other hand, which makes up just under two per cent of the sugar-free market, declined 57 percent between 2004 and 2006. Mintel said this segment needs to disassociate itself from the short-lived low-carb trend and focus in on premium opportunities instead.