Nobody needs to tell you that the erythritol market has become a shitshow in a burning dumpster.
In the last week:
Corn prices hit an eight-year high after rising more than 140% in the past year.
US exports of corn more than doubled from a year ago through the first three months of 2021.
World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, the USDA revealed corn stocks in 2020-2021 hit a seven-year low of 1.352 billion bushels.
Corn price futures for the July 2021 contract (December 2021 contract) increased from $4.68 per bushel ($4.31 per bushel) in early January to $6.56 ($5.57) for the week ending April 30.
Glucose syrup from corn is a main input for creating allulose, erythritol, xylitol, citric acid, dextrose, and the list goes on and on. This shortage is driving up pricing dramatically and putting a stranglehold on supply.
It is not just a corn shortage that is raising havoc in the ingredients space, it is also shipping. There is a massive shortage of containers and ships to get containers on. Where there is a scarcity of supply the iron fist of capitalism steps in and drives price.
The price of erythritol and allulose has more than doubled in the past few months. Getting these compounds requires getting on a waiting list in some situations. Icon Foods has a good, not great but good position on erythritol. The supply chain could become tighter in the next week to come.
I want to offer you a solution. This solution comes with over 20 years of clean label sugar reduction experience. While you may not be able to completely formulate out erythritol, reducing your dependency might be the solution to saving you money and getting your cost of goods sold down. This solution comes in the form of a custom sweetening system design to reduce the amount of erythritol you are currently using.
We all can agree creating the right flavoring combination for a food, beverage or packaged product can require multiple attempts on the bench and in the pilot plant. The speed with which the product passes through the lab will depend largely on the skills of the product developer. Even with in depth knowledge of ingredient interactions and processes, the final product may hit a snag in manufacturing. Working with small levels of ingredients, such as high potency compounds like stevia and monk fruit requires exact measurements, plating, and pre-blending. The slightest misstep can call for rework.
That’s why more and more companies have sought the expertise of the sweetening specialists at Icon Foods. Not only do will we save you the cost of research and development by relying on our R&D team. We will likely save you manufacturing expenses by using a proprietary pre-blend that reduces more costly compounds like erythritol and allulose. Consider the benefit of adding one ingredient to the mix, rather than five means there is tighter margin for error. Assurance of purchasing a consistent product is a strong advantage not to mention logistics. All saving time and money.
Understanding the nuances of each sweetener, the ways that it functions and the ways that it interacts with other ingredients will shorten time to delivery of the idealized sweetening system for a beverage, confectionery, baked good or other product. Custom sweetening solutions deliver exactly the right sweetness for the product they are designed for.
Having a library of sweeteners to pull from and an intricate knowledge of their idiosyncrasies is important to developing the sweetening target. Sometimes additional ingredients are required to create the perception of fullness. The human tongue is sensitive to viscosity.
Consider traditional Coca-Cola®. It has a quality that can be described as syrupy. Diet sodas, in comparison, are watery. People develop preferences based on this attribute. Because high- intensity sweeteners are used at very low levels, solids are reduced. Unless these are put back by use of a bulking agent, a beverage will seem thin.
Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) are another way to build body and mouthfeel while reducing polyols. These prebiotic fibers have a little less than half the sweetness of sugar and provide excellent bulking to a wide range of foods and beverage. Their low-calorie contribution — 1 calorie per gram — is an added benefit. Plus, they are synergistic with other sweeteners.
Besides adding mouthfeel, bulk is necessary to round out formulas. If sugar is removed from a product, solids are lost. Low- level usage of a high- intensity sweetener will automatically raise the percentages of all the other ingredients. The difference must be accounted for, or the finished product will not likely resemble the intended target.
Custom sweetening systems are designed specifically to enhance the flavor of whatever product they are incorporated into.
High intensity sweeteners like stevia monk fruit carry off-notes. That is, if used alone. But, when the two are used in a specific specification and in just the right amount, they vanquish each other’s off-notes. To a lesser effect, FOS, allulose and erythritol will also contribute toward masking.
Just as these sweeteners can heighten the impact of some flavors, they can also soften the top notes of others. Similarly, the presence of other ingredients in the formula will influence the overall perception of flavors. This is especially true of acidulants.
Understanding the potential interactions and perceptions of all the ingredients combined in the formula is key to developing the optimal sweetening system.
Taste and mouthfeel are just a couple of the roles sweeteners and fibers play in foods. In baked goods, some sweeteners provide humectancy. Cakes, muffins and breads stay softer. The moisture level of the product remains consistent. Water activity is controlled. Shelf life is improved. L95 FOS syrup or allulose syrup play an important role in this.
Volume is an important parameter in cakes and muffins. Baked goods sweetened with xylitol or erythritol will not have as much rise as traditionally sweetened products because the molecular weights of these two compounds is significantly lower than sugar.
Browning, or participation in the Maillard reaction, gives baked goods their golden color. For this reaction to occur, reducing sugars (saccharides) and amino acids are required. Sugar alcohols like xylitol and erythritol are incapable of reacting. High- intensity sweeteners do not contribute to the reaction. Allulose, FOS or other sweeteners that contain reducing sugars must be present.
Viscosity affects batters, beverages, sauces and a variety of food products. By virtue of its low molecular weight, erythritol contributes very low viscosity to solutions.
Solubility contributes to the mouthfeel of the product. From a practical consideration, it impacts processing. Allulose is more soluble than sugar. Xylitol has high solubility. Erythritol exhibits medium solubility.
Granulation and particle size also comes into play. Dry sweeteners may be granular or powdered. A 100 mesh or smaller sweetener will have a density comparable to 10X sugar.
Some formulas and reformulations come together easily. A trek to the R&D pantry and a few tweaks to percentages may be all that is necessary to hit the sweetness target. It is rarely that simple particularly when trying to reduce erythritol.
Product development is more often an exercise of repetition. It’s trial and error with multiple formulation attempts. Relying on a partner, like Icon Foods, who has deep sweetening experience can simplify the process. Beginning with an understanding of the confidential ingredients in a formula, our seasoned applications team can customize a sweetening system to hit all the targets such as sensory, functional attributes and cost savings.
Just like a seasoning house combines blends of spices, colors and flavorings, Icon Foods can create blends of sweetening compounds, at any particle size, to deliver the optimum sweetness profile for your product. Maximizing synergies among sweeteners and other ingredients in the formula will reduce the cost of your formula and help you avoid supply chain pitfalls. An Icon Foods custom sweetening solution provides you additional cost savings benefits. Adding one ingredient instead of many reduces manufacturing steps as well as inventory, a benefit to both R&D and QC.
Working with Icon Foods will maximize efficiency in the number of passes at the bench and in the pilot plant, but also in terms of cost savings. Capitalizing on synergies between sweeteners and other ingredients can reduce the use of higher cost ingredients.
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