Here’s the scoop: Ice cream is next for stevia

By David Visick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Ice cream, Sugar, Danisco

Stevia could soon be adopted by ice cream manufacturers, claims a partnership of ingredient developers which believes it has overcome the technical challenges of producing frozen desserts using the natural sweetener.

Firmenich and Danisco said their collaboration has successfully introduced stevia as a sucrose replacement in vanilla and lemon sorbet ice cream, opening up new opportunities for the zero-calorie alternative.

Firmenich recreated the sweetness and flavour performance of full-sugar products by combining PureCircle’s Reb A with its own ModulaSense technologies. These modulate flavour and taste, and include sweetness and mouthfeel enhancers as well as masking flavours to cover the liquorice and bitter notes of stevia.

Danisco contributed its experience of using optimized combinations of bulking agents, alternative sweeteners and emulsifier/stabilizer systems to ensure the consistency of the ice cream.

Replacing sugar in frozen desserts is technically challenging due to its functional properties in such products. In addition to providing sweetness, sugars are key to the freezing behaviour of ice cream as they affect its texture, softness and mouthfeel.

Sugar replacement requires a complete product reformulation to restore the texture, structure, taste and flavour properties of ice cream, the companies said. “Sweetness is also an essential sensory factor influencing the flavour perception and profile - for example, the balance between sweetness, acidity and flavour is a key success factor for sorbets,”​ they added.

Rebaudioside A (Reb A) is the sweetest component derived from the stevia leaf and is about 250 times sweeter than sucrose. Reb A was recently granted FDA GRAS status in the US, and earlier this month France became the first European market to approve the ingredient.

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