Advantame - a zero-calorie sweetener made from vanillin and aspartame that can also be blended with sugar, HFCS or other sweeteners in everything from dairy to beverages - was approved for general use in the US back in 2014.
According to Ajinomoto, advantame is now approved as a sweetener in the US, Mexico, Japan, European Union, Australia, new Zealand, Singapore, and Turkey. The latest approval by Mexico’s COFEPRIS brings the number of countries where it may be marketed to 35.
The sweetener’s approval in Mexico comes at a time when many world governments are encouraging the public to reduce its sugar intake. The Latin American country is one of the few in the world that imposes a surcharge on soft drinks nationally, and Ajinomoto North America sees this as a good opportunity.
"Obviously with the Mexican sugar tax, what that's done is increase the cost of beverages, for example," Ihab Bishay, Senior Director of Ajinomoto North America, told FoodNavigator-USA at the IFT 2016 show in Chicago. "What we're seeing a lot of customers do is they off set that increased cost by reducing the amount sugar, and advantame is a great way to maintain sweetness and maintain that cost reduction."
According to Bishay, the sweetness advantame delivers does not affect the flavor profile of a product. During a presentation at IFT 2016, the company said that an independent test with trained panelists found that advantame is 100 times sweeter than aspartame, and 20,000 times sweeter than sucrose, based on ratio of the ingredients in water by weight.
“In the USA, where new added sugars labeling regulations are taking effect, these sweeteners play a significant role in helping food manufacturers deliver good tasting products with less added sugar and calories,” said Brendan Naulty, Senior Vice President, Ajinomoto North America Inc., in a press release.
“We are pleased that Mexico now has advantame as an option to do the same.”