The European Commission has approved the use of the high-intensity sweetener advantame in a variety of food and drink categories.
Approval of low-calorie sweetener was published in the Official Journal of the European Union the new EU Regulation n. 497/2014 , and authorises the use of advantame in several categories of food, including confectionery, chewing gum, breakfast cereals, bakery products, flavoured drinks, soups and sauces.
The firm behind the new ingredient - Ajinomoto - said the sweetener has 'a clean, sugar-like taste' that can be used by manufacturers to reduce calories while maintaining the tastes that are acceptable to consumers
The firm added that the move will therefore make it easier for food and beverage companies to meet commitments to reduce calories and sugar.
"The need to address the over-consumption of calories is self-evident, not just in Europe, but throughout the developed world. With the approval of Advantame, we can provide a unique, value-added ingredient to food and beverage companies," said a spokesperson for Ajinomoto Co., Inc.
Advantame will be classified and indicated on labels as E 969, and has a precautionary ADI (adequate daily intake) of 5 mg/kg bodyweight/day set out by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
The European Commission (EC) said there is a 'technological need' for the use of advantame as a high-intensity sweetener in various food and tabletop products "in order to replace caloric sugars (sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc.) thus allowing for a reduction of the caloric content of those foodstuffs."
"The flavour and sweetness qualities of advantame, coupled with good stability characteristics, mean that advantame provides an alternative to already approved high-intensity sweeteners, offering consumers and the food industry the option to choose from a wider selection of sweeteners, thus reducing the intake of each individual sweetener," said the EC.
The approval means that the high-intensity sweetener will now be cleared for use in a wide range of products, including: flavoured fermented milk products, confectionery, cocoa and chocolate products, fruit and vegetable preparations excluding compote, jam, jellies, sweetened chestnut puree, chewing gum, breakfast cereals, bakery products, flavoured drinks, fruit nectars, soups, sauces, dietary foods and food supplements.
Advantame was also recently approved for general use as a sweetener in foods and beverages by the US Food & Drug Administration .