This breakthrough, says the ingredients supplier, should help manufacturers tap the growing trend towards healthier foods that do not compromise taste.
Since no single high-intensity sweetener has the same sweetness profile as sugar, Nutrinova has targeted the development of specific sweetener blends containing Sunett (Acesulfame K).
The German company believes that a blend of Sunett and sucralose has proven particularly suitable as a sweetener in sauces, and ketchup. It argues that sucralose - approved in the EU since 2004 - offers delayed sweetness onset with a lingering sweetness.
This, says the firm, makes it ideal for blending with Sunett, which develops fast sweetness impact. The Sunett/sucralose combination therefore yields rapid onset and no lingering sweetness that is very similar to sugar.
Aspartame on the other hand, which also works in synergy with Sunett, is of only limited use in this application area as it does not always meet the required stability criteria for processing and storage of sauces.
Nutrinova has now developed a whole range of sample formulations that could be used by manufacturers looking to fully or partially replace sugar in this particular category.
The company believes that it can help food makers tap significant growing demand, with the market for sauces as well as the market for sugar reduced and calorie reduced products continually growing.
In addition, Nutrinova argues that its innovations could help manufacturers improve margins. The proportion of sugar often represents 20 per cent and in some cases up to 40 per cent of product weight in sauces. Reducing the sugar content by using high-intensity sweeteners could therefore help achieve cost-savings.
And above all, flavour is maintained. Sunett is stable in the pH-range three to nine and is not changed by pasteurisation and sterilisation, which require temperatures from about 80°C to 120°C. The company claims that stability of Sunett in aqueous solutions with pH 3-4 (such as ketchup and sauces) has been successfully tested at 100°C for up to 60 minutes.
These products also remain stable throughout long-term storage, an important for sauces. Sunett and sucralose are also both highly soluble.
Acesulfame potassium, known as the additive E950, gained approval in the EU in 1983, and has been cleared in about 90 countries worldwide, including the US, since 1988. The product, which is roughly 200 times sweeter than sugar, has enjoyed volume gains in the buoyant sweetener market of late.
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. Soft drinks continue to drive demand, pushing supplies for competitive sweeteners aspartame and Splenda, as well as Acesulfame K.
Nutrinova is a leading international supplier of specialty ingredients for the food and beverage industries. It is one of the world's largest producers of potassium sorbate and sorbic acid and is also active in the market for dietary fibres and omega-3 fatty acids.