Italian artisan-style ice cream manufacturer PreGel said that the new range was specifically targeted at consumers looking to reduce their calorie or fat intake, while still enjoying the full flavour of traditional gelato.
The extended product range will include mixes for low fat, no-added sugar gelato catering for the United States, Australian, South American and UK market and mixes for low fat, reduced-calorie gelato for the European market (UK excluded).
"Tate & Lyle is keen to work alongside clients to develop tailored solution sets for their needs," said Rachel Moffatt, Tate & Lyle's European marketing manager.
"Research commissioned by Tate & Lyle has shown that one in four consumers believes that reducing fat and sugar levels are the most important improvements that can be made to ice cream, while 73 per cent of current ice cream buyers would 'definitely' or 'probably' buy a low-fat, low-sugar ice cream."
Health concerns are continuing to boost spending on diet food and drinks. Low- and no-fat products account for more new product launches than those making any other lesser evil claims, according to Datamonitor.
In 2001, 7.4 per cent of new food products launched worldwide claimed to contain reduced levels of fat, rising to 10.4 per cent in 2005.
Although growth in the proportion of products claiming to be low-fat is comparatively low at only 7.0 per cent a year between 2001 and 2005, it remains in a dominant position: the benefits of a reduced fat intake are easily comprehensible and instinctively accepted by all consumers.
Ice Cream Rebalance 022 comprises a mixture of Splenda Sucralose - Tate & Lyle's patented no calorie sweetener - and other specialised ingredients designed to help maintain the gelato's texture and sweetness. The Solution Set is designed to be a process-friendly, easy sugar replacement.
Sucralose is used worldwide in over 4,000 food, beverage and nutritional products. PreGel will be using the 'Sweetened with Splenda' logo for sales in the United States, Mexico, Australia and the United Kingdom due to consolidated brand awareness in these countries.
According to market analysts Freedonia, the sweetener market is set to grow at around 8.3 per cent year on year until 2008: considerably higher than growth in the ingredients industry currently at about 3 to 4 per cent.
"PreGel has a long history of supplying high quality gelato to a global market, and it was important that we worked with an ingredients company that had a reputation for innovation, as well as great product knowledge and a deep understanding of our market," said Dario Rabboni, manager and member of the board of directors at PreGel.
"Working with Tate & Lyle has enabled us to achieve our goal of developing a range of great tasting reduced-fat, reduced-sugar and no-added-sugar gelato recipes."
The gelato mixes, which come in chocolate, cream, cappuccino and raspberry flavours, were piloted by PreGel at the Sigep trade fair in Rimini this January. The company says they were well received with many tasters unable to tell the difference between standard sugar ice cream and the products made with Rebalance 022.