Fruit-based ingredients offer ‘completely natural means of sweetening cereals’

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages/Jose Luis Pelaez
©GettyImages/Jose Luis Pelaez

Related tags: Israel, Sugar, Cereal

Israel-based Gat Foods has launched a range of ingredients made from 90% fruit components, which it says will help food companies ‘make the switch’ from refined to unrefined sugars.

Gat Foods, a subsidiary of Central Bottling Company Group, Ltd. (CBC Israel), has unveiled a line of real fruit-based ingredients.

The Fruitlift range delivers a mild sweetness to food products. Made from 90% fruit components – fruit concentrates, fruit purée, and in the citrus offering, fruit fibres – the range is available in a variety of fruit bases, including apple, banana, mango, citrus fruits, and pineapple.

“The ingredient may contribute a fruity taste, or could be neutral in taste, and combined with the manufacturer’s desired signature flavour,” ​international marketing director Michal Katzir Emek told FoodNavigator.

On the cereal box, this will be presented as a fruit component in the ingredients list, “without the need to state sugar, as there is no refined sugar in Gat Foods ingredients”, ​she continued.

“On the nutritional table, sugar content will be declared in correlation to the amount of Fruitlift solution contained in the individual product.”

An unrefined approach

Gat Foods’ innovation aims to reduce the amount of refined sugar in breakfast cereals, particularly in those aimed at children.

Pressure from governments and not-for-profits to reduce the amount of added sugar in finished food products has been observed across the food and beverage industry.

This has seen certain Member States implement sugar taxes for sweetened beverages, and Public Health England – the body that advises the British government on public health policy for all of the UK – implement a sugar reduction strategy in processed food and drinks.

For Katzir Emek, Gat Foods’ offering responds to this growing demand for healthier breakfast cereals in a sector she described as being “stagnant for some time”.

GettyImages-1043021644
Gat Foods aims to help food firms 'make the switch' from refined to unrefined sugar ©GettyImages/Wachara Kireewong / EyeEm

“Refined sugars can make up anywhere from 15% to a whopping 40% of a typical box of cereals,” ​she said.

“We decided to face the challenge head-on and give manufacturers the option of offering consumers the next generation of cereals – cereals that are more nutritious, with cleaner labels, and infused with more natural ingredients, yet without sacrificing the organoleptic qualities. And, most importantly, attaining a delicate sweetness with zero refined sugar.”

While Fruitlift may help food manufacturers reduce total sugar content, as the amount can be adjusted according to the desired level of sweetness, Katzir Emek told this publication the focus is on reducing refined sugars specifically.

“The focus is on making the switch from refined to unrefined sugars and to give a completely natural means of sweetening cereals.”

Appealing to the health-conscious consumer

Fruitlift, which is proudly fructose-free, will also help food brands cater to the increasingly health-conscious shopper.

“Consumers’ reluctance to give up the convenience of ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast cereals are voicing a desire to see more healthful attributes attached to these products to fit their busy lifestyles,” ​stated Gat Foods’ international brand manager, Hila Bentman.

“There are numerous cereals on the market with a fruit coating, however they still contain relatively high amounts of refined sugar. Our fruit base is designed to permeate the entire expanded cereal as a complete substitute for the refined sugars that have historically been an inseparable part of RTE cereals.”

As refined sugar is regarded to be the cheapest sweetener on the market, it is likely Fruitlift will appeal to brands targeting the higher end of the cereal market. “Gat Foods is indeed targeting premium cereal brands and health-conscious consumer brands,” ​Emek confirmed.

Overcoming manufacturing challenges

On a technical level, Gat Foods says its solution overcomes the challenge of integrating a wet solution into a spray product.

Fruitlift is a liquid base that can be injected into any flour mixture in the extrusion line. Alternatively, it can be applied via the coating drum in the production of cereals.

“Moreover, anti-caking agents are not necessary. Gat Foods applies a built-to-fit approach, allowing the fruit base to be customised to fit any type of manufacturing or extrusion procedure. The right solution can be formulated to fit any type of flour mixture,” ​said the firm.

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