Belgian company Orafti has introduced a new low colour organic sweetener that could tackle the problems faced by organic soft drink manufacturers, including off-notes in colour and taste.
The company, part of the Belgian Südzucker Group, is to use the upcoming Food Ingredients Europe exhibition in Paris as a platform to launch its new Naturesweet LC product.
"We had been receiving feedback from companies saying that the off colour and distinct taste left by the use of organic sugar were preventing them from being able to develop organic versions of existing soft drink products," said Chris Van Aarle, the company's liquid sweeteners product manager.
"The decoloured organic sweetener now allows companies to manufacture organic drinks with the same taste and colour as the regular products," he told FoodNavigator.com.
The low colour of the sweetener, which can be used in ice cream and dairy application as well as in soft drinks and fruit juices, is achieved through a process of decolourisation of organic invert sugar using active carbon. The carbon absorbs all colour components from the sugar syrup, which are mainly made up of different salts and protein. A process of fine filtration is then used to separate the syrup from the carbon.
This process leaves a "crystal clear" organic sweetener with a "clean sweet taste," according to the company.
Organic sugar has an average rating of 300-600 ICUMSA, an international unit for expressing the purity of sugar in solution. The company claims its Naturesweet LC has an ICUMSA rating of 50, compared to the average rating of 35 of normal white cane sugar.
"The difference is so small that a consumer would not pick up on a changed colour or taste," said Van Aarle.
Orafti said there has already been strong interest for the product from soft drink and ice cream manufacturers in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
However the new product may not appeal to a number of companies, such as UK organic ice cream manufacturers Rocombe and Green & Black's, who say they have not encountered any problems with flavour or colour off-notes in their products through the use of organic sugar.
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