The product, Sports Drink Rebalance 015, has been designed specifically for beverages that claim to replenish water and minerals to the body before, during and after exercise.
Tate & Lyle believes that the new product can help the development of better tasting isotonic sports drinks, and also provide technical benefits to beverage manufacturers.
This is an incredibly lucrative market. Western Europe's sports drink market sprinted past the 1,000 million barrier in 2003, according to market analyst Zenith International, with volumes up 27 per cent to 477 million litres.
According to the Zenith report, hypotonic sports drinks - which replace lost fluids without a carbohydrate boost - have gained most momentum in the past two years, more than doubling their share to 20 per cent. But these 'light' variants still have a lot of ground to make up on the leader. Isotonic drinks (which replenish fluids and provide carbohydrates) account for a whopping 73 per cent of the market.
Isotonic solutions by definition have an osmotic pressure equivalent to human blood, due to their balanced composition of minerals and carbohydrates. Therefore the balance of these ingredients within the formula is critical.
Besides fructose, which is used to enhance sweetness and boost fruity notes, Splenda sucralose is used in Tate & Lyle's new product. This provides a technological advantage.
Because sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar, and consequently takes up less particle space than many other sweeteners, it enables manufacturers to add more minerals to the product.
Consuming drinks that contain too much or not the ideal kind of carbohydrates during exercise can lead to gastric problems or cramps. Sports Drink Rebalance 015 has been specially formulated based on leading scientific research to provide a small amount of carefully selected carbohydrates at the optimum level.
Independent sensory testing of prototype sports drinks made with Rebalance 015 has shown a favourable performance on many key attributes when compared with leading brands currently on the market. Significant improvements include a more balanced sweetness profile and a decrease in sour flavour and aftertaste, in off-flavour as well as in astringent mouthfeel, all of which are attributes associated with some existing sports drinks.
"This is the latest in a series of exciting commercial launches from within the Rebalance range," said Rachel Moffatt, Tate & Lyle's European marketing manager.
"Commercial bottlers and manufacturers in countries such as France and Italy are already interested in this solution because it provides them with increased freedom of formulation. This means they can cater for varying taste preferences within different markets and deliver added functional benefits.
"The key driver for Tate & Lyle Rebalance solutions is to reformulate a product's nutritional profile without compromise to taste and enjoyment. The pace of change in the beverage industry is increasing and manufactures need to respond accordingly to the demands of today's savvy consumers."