The French company was already supplying maltitol, but the new trademark concept covers the ingredient and access to Roquette’s expertise in areas such as formulation.
A spokeswoman told FoodNavigator.com: “SweetPearl is the maltitol by Roquette but SweetPearl is more than the ingredient itself.
“It is also a panel of services we offer to the food producers.
“Roquette provides a tailor-made business service, recipes, state-of-the-art technologies and product development assistance for each food innovations. Plus, Roquette can bring international expertise, such as trend-spotters, health experts and food scientists.
“We think that any food producers who produces sweet goods, and more particularly those who produce chocolate and cereal based products, and who are looking for creative ideas in flavouring, texture and well-being can be potentially interested by SweetPearl.”
Maltitol, derived from the hydrogenation of maltose, is one of the sweetest polyols, being 0.8 to 0.9 times as sweet as sugar, according to Leatherhead Food International. It can be used as a sole substitute for sugar without the need for added intense sweeteners.
It is most widely used in sugar-free confectionery and chocolate but Leatherhead said it faces strong competition from the bulk sweeteners xylitol and isomalt in its key end-use market.
Sugar-free and reduced sugar products are gaining in popularity throughout the world. In the chewing gum market alone, the penetration of sugar-free products has reached 80 per cent in many European countries.
Roquette is a key supplier of maltitol, along with Cerestar, which is part of Cargill and Syral, among others.
SweetPearl, produced from naturally-occurring compounds in wheat, is a white powder obtained through a process patented by Roquette
It can be used in the same way as sugar “without any major change in recipe or manufacturing process”.
Roquette said that in chocolate, the sweetener avoids the need for additional fats and flavouring because, unlike some sweeteners, the texture and taste does not need to be adjusted through the addition of fats
It also boasts that SweetPearl brings out the natural taste of cereals contained in baked products and it can be used in baking, dough, creams, coatings, fillings and cake decorations.
And when used for sugar-free chewing gums and confectionery coating, it provides “long lasting crunchiness, sweetness and sustained flavour release”.
Roquette said that the SweetPearl services include market research and last month the Cegma Topo company conducted a consumer survey for Roquette about the perception of English, French and German consumers on nutritional benefits of chocolate products.
The first figures showed that more than 94 per cent were interested in chocolate with nutritional benefits.
Roquette is a private family business with a turnover in 2007 of over €2.5bn.