Consumer’s health consciousness and awareness on sugar intake has increased dramatically in the last decade and thus becoming a major market trend. The adverse health outcomes related to high sugar consumption have been linked to an increase risk of certain health conditions.
After the request of 5 European countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) for an update on a 2010 assessment on dietary sugars, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published this month its draft scientific opinion on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for Dietary Sugars.
Following the review of more than 30,000 publications, EFSA could not set a tolerable upper intake level for dietary sugar. Nevertheless, EFSA confirms various links between the intake of different categories of sugars and the risk of developing chronic metabolic diseases and dental caries. Currently, there is an open consultation on this draft scientific opinion. The public consultation will be open until at end of September and interested parties are invited to submit their comments. Click here to know more.
In the meantime, cutting the amount of sugar in product formulation has become a priority for many food and beverage companies as consumers are seeking healthier solutions.
The reduction of sugar in product formulations can be achieved in different ways, from reducing to replacing the amount of added sugar with for example sweeteners. Since sugar can mask unpleasant off-flavors, improving the flavor profile of for example plant proteins in plant protein products with processing technologies enables formulations with less added sugar.
It is important to mention that public awareness about the impact of artificial sugar substitutes has increased. Moreover, not all sweeteners are suitable for all applications. Therefore, there is a constant search more for versatile and safe sugar substitutes.
Sugar alternatives are either high-intensity sweeteners (like aspartame, steviol glycosides) or low calory sweeteners (isomalt, xylitol, erythritol). These are food additives and require a food additive authorization. In contrast, non-caloric sugars like allulose and cellobiose, which are chemically a sugar and behave like sugar in food and beverage formulations, are not considered additives but novel food.
There are many ways to achieve the same goal, so if you are developing an innovative sugar replacer and need regulatory advice or need support in demonstrating the safety of your ingredient, our team of experts would be happy to support you. Get in touch with us.