- Ingredion has launched Erysta, the company’s new sweetener made from an erythritol polyol that has undergone a fermentation process, according to Food Ingredients First. The sugar alcohol is 70% as sweet as sugar and can be found naturally in some fruits and vegetables.
- Although not as sweet, Erysta has a similar taste profile and zero calorie content, allowing manufacturers to make energy and sugar reduction claims on packaging.
- While it provides products with a similar texture and mouthfeel to using sugar, it has a distinctive cooling effect, the ingredients publication reported.
The natural sweetener erythritol is not new. In fact, the sugar alcohol has been waiting for years as other natural sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, honey and maple syrup have taken the limelight for manufacturers looking to cater to consumers that are looking to reduce their sugar intake or get the sweet taste from other sources.
Although the ingredient has not taken the market by storm like other alternatives, data from Innova cited by Food Ingredients First showed new product launches containing erythritol have increased by 47% from 2017 to 2019.
Erythritol has been a popular choice for people on low-carb diets because it has a glycemic index of zero, which makes it a favorable choice for diabetics. It also has the advantage of causing no tooth decay. Despite a laundry list of positive attributes associated with the sweetener, because it is a sugar alcohol, large amounts of the sweetener have been found to cause stomach cramping for some consumers.
Nevertheless, an ingredient such as Erysta will be a boon for manufacturers looking to deliver products with a reduced sugar content but no artificial sources of sweetness. Products fitting these two criteria will fit squarely into what consumers are demanding. Products with "low/no/reduced sugar" label claims jumped 45% in 2017 compared to five years prior, Kerry found. Products with "no artificial sweeteners" claims climbed 4.4%, and those with "no added sugar" increased 2.6% during the same period.
Erysta also has the advantage of being an ideal pairing for some of the more popular sweeteners. The sugar alcohol is often used to mask the off tastes of stevia and monk fruit. It also injects mouthfeel into foods that are sweetened with stevia.
At the same time, because it is less sweet than traditional sugar, it would be a good choice for manufacturers that are looking to reduce the overall sweetness of their products. People are increasingly viewing foods and beverages as too sweet. An Innova Market Insights survey found three in five U.S. consumers would prefer to reduce their sugar intake rather than replace it by consuming artificial sweeteners, Food Ingredients First reported.
Ingredion is not the only company to focus on erythritol. DFI and Mitr Phol Group began expanding their production of the sugar alcohol in 2016. There is also competition from companies marketing allulose, which is a natural alternative that also is 70% as sweet as sugar, has no aftertaste, boasts the same mouthfeel as sugar and can participate in maillard. Allulose also does not feature the unique cooling sensation that is a hallmark of erythritol, and it is also cost competitive.
Even with competition, Ingredion’s newest product is a great choice for companies looking for more than just a sweet taste. For soda manufacturers, such a product would be an attractive choice due to the mouthfeel associated with the sugar alcohol. Similarly, it is a unique sweetener whose cooling quality could prove ideal for use in peppermint flavored treats, chewing gum or mints where it has already found some success. If Erysta can find its niche, it will have plenty of room to grow as the sugar alternative market is estimated at $16 billion to $20 billion.