Advantame is a blend of vanillin and aspartame and is said to be 37,000 times sweeter than sugar.
Advantame was approved for use in the EU in June 2014 after receiving a favourable safety opinion by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) the previous year. It set an acceptable daily intake of 5 mg per kg by weight per day.
Senior diector for sweeteners Ihab E. Bishay told FoodNavigator the company was now working on getting approval for other countries in the Middle East.
"Advantame works very well as a partial replacement for sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Depending on the application, you can replace up to 33% of the sugar and maintain the taste and sweetness quality of the product while reducing your sweetener costs. Advantame can also be used to blend with other high potency sweeteners such as sucralose, to improve their taste profile and reduce cost.
"It has a very similar clean, sugar-like, sweetness profile to aspartame, without any off-taste. It does however have a slightly longer lasting sweetness than aspartame."
Brendan Naulty, senior vice president of Ajinomoto North America said in a statement that both aspartame and advantame “a significant role” in helping food manufacturers deliver good tasting products with less added sugar and calories.
But although the backlash against sugar has been rising steadily in recent years, reaching a crescendo of punitive fiscal measures either already in place or under discussion - from Mexico to South Africa, the UK to Thailand - companies may want to think twice before reformulating it out of their products, according to Sara Petersson, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International.
“Consumer perception is a critical aspect of a product’s success and there has been a lot of uncertainty and mistrust regarding whether or not high intensity sweeteners contribute to the onset of cancer and poor eating choices subsequently,” she wrote in an article entitled ‘Sugar is not the one to blame and high intensity sweeteners are not the answer to today’s obesity crisis.’
“Most high intensity sweeteners are artificial, and the large demand for natural products and ingredients in recent years means that consumer perception of artificial ingredients has become increasingly negative. The decision for manufacturers to incorporate artificial high intensity sweeteners in their products is inevitably associated with the loss of a large proportion of consumers.”
Adavantame’s approval for the Israeli market means the high intensity, zero-calorie sweetener may now be sold in a total of 36 countries, including the USA, Japan, Turkey, Australia, Mexico and all EU member states.