History of Erythritol
Erythritol… By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of this sugar/sucrose alternative, but how familiar are you with its origin? If you’re well-versed in all things erythritol, then you have probably been keeping an eye on the growing global food crisis. We know we have! Tension in the Black Sea region has led to grain shortages around the world. This effected corn, wheat, barley, and several other essential grains. As a result, many food developers have had a difficult time maintaining their ingredient supply chains. Thankfully, Icon Foods is well-positioned with numerous partners across the globe. Because of this, we’ve been fortunate to be able to continue providing concierge-level service without raising costs. If you have yet to secure your erythritol supplier, look no further!
Let’s get started with a little bit of history: Erythritol is a naturally occurring polyol that has almost no caloric value and does not spike blood sugar levels, making it ideal for keto and diabetic diets (3). Erythritol was first discovered by John Stenhouse, a Scottish chemist, in 1848. However, the commercial debut of this sugar alcohol began in Japan in the 1990s. While it is true that erythritol can be produced naturally in some fruits and fermented foods, commercial erythritol is most often produced from corn. The industrial production of erythritol begins with the generation of glucose from the enzymatic hydrolysis of cornstarch. Yeast is then fermented with the glucose to produce erythritol (2).
Current Market Trends
To recap, commercial-grade erythritol is produced from corn. Which leads us into our next topic of discussion: the global grain shortages. Over the past several months, the UN, alongside numerous global leaders, have been vocalizing their increasing concerns over the hostile situation between Ukraine and Russia. This isn’t only drastically effecting the lives of civilians in each country, but it put a full stop on grain supplies across the world. A report by CBS News stated that, “The Black Sea region is dubbed the world’s breadbasket, with Ukraine and Russia key global suppliers of wheat, corn, barley and sunflower oil… that millions of people rely on for survival.” In the past couple of weeks, thanks to the persistent negotiating tactics of Turkey and the UN, we’ve begun to see some container vessels leaving the Odessa port—bearing much-needed grain supplies. However, CBS noted that “much of the grain that Ukraine is trying to export is used for animal feed, not for people to eat.” With this in mind, we can expect the global grain shortage to continue well into next year (1).
So how does this effect erythritol? Let me break it down!
- Commercial erythritol is produced from corn.
- Ukraine and Russia are two of the main global corn suppliers.
- Reduced corn supplies equals reduced erythritol production.
- Less erythritol on the market will result in inflated prices.
- Price inflation will result in business losses and shrinking product portfolios.
- Public demand for naturally sweetened products will go unmet.
How can Icon Foods help? Easily!
When you decide who you want to have as your supply chain partner, take into consideration whether they are single-sourced or multi-sourced. At Icon Foods, our diversified supply chain has enabled us to continue functioning at regular capacity, despite global price increases and shortages. To help reduce operations costs even further, we create custom sweetening blends!
Just like a seasoning house combines blends of spices, colors, and flavorings, Icon Foods utilizes blends of sweetening compounds to deliver the optimum sweetness profile for your products. We customize these blends to meet your specifications! Maximizing synergies among sweeteners and other ingredients in the formula will reduce the overall cost. Our dedicated R&D team functions in tandem with the Quality Control team, to ensure the privacy of your formulas and quality of the sweetening blend. Still unsure? Let us help you get started! Click on this link to receive your free Erythritol Tool Kit! A representative will reach out to help you determine your business needs. From there, you’ll be sent free samples and informative guides.
- “3 More Ships Loaded with Grain Depart Ukraine Ports Under U.N. Deal.” Edited by The Associated Press, CBS News, CBS Interactive, 5 Aug. 2022, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ukraine-grain-three-more-ships-depart-ports/.
- Axe, Josh. “Erythritol: Is This ‘Healthy’ Sweetener the Real Deal?” Ancient Nutrition, Dr. Axe, 30 Mar. 2021, https://draxe.com/nutrition/erythritol/.
- Sollid, Kris. “What Is Erythritol?” Food Insight, International Food Information Council, 30 Jan. 2019, https://foodinsight.org/what-is-erythritol/.