- Holista CollTech Limited has partnered with 2017 Nobel Prize Nominee Daryl Thompson to file a patent for the world’s first all-natural low glycemic index (GI) sugar, according to Food Ingredients First. Low GI sugar tastes just as sweet as traditional applications, but is digested slower.
- This low-GI sugar is the latest innovation Holista’s low-GI portfolio, and unlike artificial sweeteners, can be melted, baked and caramelized in cooking. Holista predicts that the product will launch before June.
- “In survey after survey, a growing number of consumers are saying that they do not want to see ‘sugar’ on the label. The industry gets it. The challenge is that the only alternatives out there are either chemical-based, which consumers reject, or are difficult to formulate in terms of taste and mouth feel as with intense sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit. This formula should solve this,” CEO of Holista Foods Nadja Piatka said.
Consumer distrust of sugar may be at an all-time high. Legislative initiatives to curb consumption of sugary drinks have been met with strong support in California, Colorado and Pennsylvania, and more and more manufacturers are searching for ways to reduce the amount of sugar in their formulas. This is especially true after the FDA declared that added sugars must be labeled as such on product packaging — the FDA also released guidance that sugars that exceed levels found naturally in fruit must also be declared on food products.
Ten years ago, artificial sweeteners like aspartame would have been the solution to this problem. But consumers today are also extremely health conscious and want their foods to be both low calorie and chemical-free — all without compromising on sweetness and flavor.
Many producers, especially in the confections space, have turned to natural sweeteners like date sugar or stevia to replace sugar, but these ingredients have their own issues. Stevia extract, for example, can never fully replace sugar because of its bitter flavor; stevia-based formulas will always need to include another sweetener to cut that flavor.
As a result, companies like Holista and Nestle are working to reinvent sugar itself , rather than search for lesser alternatives. Nestle has patented a naturally-reconstructed hollow sugar molecule that can reduce sugar in Nestle’s confectionery products by as much as 40% without compromising sweetness. The revamped sugar will be incorporated in Nestle products beginning 2018.
These sugar innovations could have major impact on the baking and confections spaces. While the term “sugar” may still leave some consumers feeling wary, distrust of less familiar substitutes like stevia may win out. Having the power to label sweets and snacks with “40% less sugar” can give brands an enormous advantage over competitors, and could help struggling categories that have fallen out of favor. If this technology becomes mainstream, the food industry could see revived sales of sodas, candy and much more, as consumers indulge their sweet tooth without the guilt — or fear of artificial chemicals.