How to Balance Stevia With Acids in Sugar Reduction Formulations

How to Balance Stevia With Acids in Sugar Reduction Formulations

Formulas For Success is a monthly educational series from our leading formulation experts that covers the basics and fundamentals of trends in product formulation. Each time we’ll be featuring an emerging ingredient or combination of ingredients and sharing the key tips you’ll need to discover your own formula for success.

When reducing or replacing sugar with stevia in a food or beverage product, formulators must always keep in mind that stevia exhibits a later onset of sweetness compared to sugar. This particular property of stevia is important when understanding how its sweetness interacts with flavors from other ingredients. A leading example is that such products commonly pair their sweetness with sour or tart flavors that are produced by a vast variety of acids. In this edition of Formulas for Success, we will focus our attention on how to best harmonize the sweetness of stevia with different types of acids in your sugar reduction formulation.

The Importance of Acid in Sweet Formulas

Aside from sugar and other sweeteners, acids are some of the most common ingredients in sweet food and beverage products. In fact, they’re found in the vast majority of formulas with a sweetener in them. As such, acids have a significant impact on the amount of sweeteners applied in such formulations. Generally speaking, the higher the amount of acid, the more sweetener is needed. Our formulation experts have found that striking that right balance does not have to be difficult, but they advise product developers to be aware that adjusting sweetener levels is not a simple one-dimensional calibration. Making such alterations will often affect other parts of the formula as well.

Citric Acid and Malic Acid With Stevia

A common acid in many sugar beverages is citric acid. The time intensity profile of citric acid (see graph below) is more upfront and similar to that of sugar. If replacing a portion or all of the sugar in a formula with stevia, the acid level or type may also need to be adjusted for an optimal sweetness profile. Some formulas may need just a slight reduction in citric acid as the upfront acid impact can taste stronger if there is less sugar to balance it out. Another option we’ve found successful is to partially replace the citric with malic acid. Since the taste impact of malic acid comes later compared to citric acid, it acts as a better balance to the sweetness of stevia. If you are noticing a lingering sweetness in your formulation with stevia, we’d recommend adding an acid that has a later taste profile to offset the linger.

Source: Corbion

Sample Stevia Formulation with Citric Acid

Lemon Iced Tea with Stevia and Citric Acid

Below is a sweetened Iced Tea application that demonstrates how to both reduce and replace sugar entirely. In this example, a citric acid reduction helped balance out the later sweetness profile of stevia replacing sugar.

Full Sugar50% Reduced SugarSugar Free
HFCS 4211.82g5.91g0g
Med-Dark Instant Dark Tea Extract0.25g0.25g0.25g
Citric Acid0.2g0.195g0.19g
Lemon Lime Extract0.1g0.1g0.1g
Nascent SoPure™ Stevia Andromeda0g0.018g0.045g

Dairy Formulation with Stevia and Lactic Acid

Yogurt with Stevia and Lactic Acid

In dairy applications, lactic acid is naturally included from milk. Since lactic has a late onset of acidity, it will help to mask some of the lingering sweetness of stevia. In our experience, our formulators have found that Reb M works very well for dairy applications. Since that glycoside offers a very clean taste profile, the lactic acid is effective for cutting the linger for a great tasting yogurt or flavored milk.

Vinaigrette Dressings & Pickled Products with Stevia

When reducing or replacing sugar with stevia in vinaigrette dressings and pickled products, adjustments to the acetic acid levels are recommended. The taste from acetic acid is likely to be rather strong as it is a very upfront acid. For such formulations, try experimenting with reducing the use levels of acetic acid to create a better balance with the sweetness of stevia.

Ready to create your own formula for success? Partner with us and learn more about other ways to optimize your stevia formulation with acids. Contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!

Nascent’s SoPure™ Stevia Attains FDA GRAS Status

Nascent’s SoPure™ Stevia Attains FDA GRAS Status

Nascent Health Sciences, LLC has received an FDA “No Questions” Letter for the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) notification (GRN 983) of its SoPure™ steviol glycosides, effectively achieving the regulatory agency’s safety designation for SoPure™ Stevia as a food ingredient. The FDA had previously issued a “No Questions” Letter regarding the company’s SoPure™ Reb A steviol glycoside. This expands significantly upon that confirmation to now include the complete portfolio of SoPure™ steviol glycosides extracted and purified from the stevia leaf.

FDA Logo
SoPure™ Stevia Attains FDA GRAS Status

“We are very pleased to receive the FDA’s No Objection Letter regarding SoPure™ Stevia’s GRAS status,” says Hank Wang, Technical Director of Nascent Health Sciences. “This provides our manufacturing customers with confidence knowing that their stevia supply is not only grown naturally and sourced sustainably, but is also safe and backed by the most stringent regulatory approvals.”

SoPure™ Stevia is a trademarked family of commercial stevia products from the world’s largest manufacturer of all-natural stevia leaf extracts. SoPure™ has been successfully incorporated in formulations for a vast range of products across the globe including beverages, baked goods, sauces and condiments, tabletop sweeteners, confectionary products, dairy products, and personal care products.

To submit the GRAS notice to the FDA, Nascent partnered with GRAS Associates, a subsidiary of Nutrasource, to ensure regulatory compliance, substantiation of claims, and approval of labeling.

For more information about Nascent Health Sciences’ portfolio of stevia products, natural sweeteners and other sugar reduction ingredients, please contact one of our expert consultants.

Monk Fruit: How to Formulate With This Popular Natural Sweetener

Monk Fruit: How to Formulate With This Popular Natural Sweetener

Formulas For Success is a monthly educational series from our leading formulation experts that covers the basics and fundamentals of trends in product formulation. Each time we’ll be featuring an emerging ingredient or combination of ingredients and sharing the key tips you’ll need to discover your own formula for success.

Monk fruit, also known as Siraitia grosvenorii or Lo Han Guo, is a natural high-potency sweetener that is 100 – 250 times as sweet as sugar. It’s an ingredient commonly used by food & beverage product manufacturers for sugar reduction and replacement. In such applications, it comes with the added benefit of being labeled with fruit in the product name. When developing a product formulation with monk fruit extract, there are important considerations for formulators to keep in mind.

Benefits of Monk Fruit

In addition to being a zero-calorie sweetener, monk fruit extract is rich in Vitamin C as well as other nutrients that offer a variety of benefits:

  • Kaempferol, a flavonoid with antimicrobial and antioxidant effects
  • Triterpene glycosides, compounds that reduce the growth of tumor cells
  • Antioxidants mogroside I-V which inhibit oxidative damage
  • Cucurbitacins, compounds with anti-inflammatory effects
  • Polysaccharide fibers, which may lower cholesterol levels

The Monk Fruit Market

Among the variety of natural high-potency sweeteners, monk fruit is the second most popular among consumers, ranking behind only stevia. A recent International Food Information Council (IFIC) survey shows consumers are more likely to consume monk fruit over sucralose and other low-calorie options including aspartame, saccharin and more. The market size for monk fruit, estimated at $720M, is expected to steadily widen. Forecasts show a CAGR of 4.8% from 2020 – 2025, according to a recent IndustryARC report.

Consumer preference for monk fruit and stevia vs. other low calorie sweeteners

Monk Fruit Purity Levels

The main sweetener in monk fruit is the antioxidant mogroside V. The typical indicated range of this antioxidant is 10 – 90%. Nascent Health Science’s team of formulation experts continuously experiments with the full range of monk fruit purity levels and have found that the best overall value is most consistently at 40 – 50%. At that range, we’ve found a cleaner taste and higher sweetness than lower purity levels. Monk fruit at very high purity levels may taste slightly cleaner, but it comes at a significantly higher cost. We generally recommend starting with 50% purity as it is the most common level. We have found the maximum use level to be about 175 ppm for monk fruit at 50% purity. Beyond that, you’ll begin to notice too many off-notes, especially in the aftertaste, which some describe as “fruity ginger”.

Note: At the 50% level, monk fruit extract is not always clearly quantified, where different suppliers may have slightly different taste and sweetness profiles. At Nascent, we conduct thorough testing when choosing suppliers and regularly test quality to ensure consistency.

Regulatory Status of Monk Fruit

Monk fruit is currently approved in limited countries, including the US, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. However, its regulatory approvals are expected to expand globally to the rest of Asia and Latin America, while the EU is also anticipated to approve the extract soon. Monk fruit juice and concentrates are available to those countries that allow the fruit juice in finished products. The concentrate can be labeled as a natural flavor in FEMA-following countries when used below 60 ppm in a beverage. Other application usage limits can be found on the FEMA site.

Formulating With Monk Fruit And Stevia

It is reported in literature that monk fruit has synergy with stevia. However, we have not found significant synergy with the combination at our recommended use levels. We believe the perceived additional sweetness comes from how the sweetness intensity curve is shaped. Like many high-potency sweeteners, the sweetness graphs for stevia and monk fruit are curved and not the straight line you’d see with most bulk sweeteners.

To illustrate this, we use an example formula which originally had 300 ppm of stevia that was replaced with 200 ppm of stevia and 100 ppm of monk fruit. The lowered use level of stevia inherently provides higher sweetness per ppm of stevia as shown in the graph above. The 100 ppm point on the monk fruit is also on the steeper part of its curve. The monk fruit graph depicts mogroside V 50% in acid and has less of a sweetness plateau than stevia. Although the combination in this example does provide a sweetness increase, there appears to be less of a true synergy between the two ingredients and more so instead, they simply complement each other.

Successfully complementing monk fruit with stevia requires an understanding of monk fruit’s sweetness profile. It has a slower sweetness onset compared to most sweeteners, and can thereby prolong the sweetness impact when combined with other sweeteners. Such combinations help to mask the aftertaste you’d otherwise experience from other natural sugar alternatives. When researchers experimented with early formulations using stevia and monk fruit, they were likely using stevia high in stevioside and Reb A, forms of stevia which can produce off-notes at high usage levels. In such scenarios, the addition of monk fruit was sensible in helping to mitigate some of the aftertaste from stevia.

Since those early formulations with monk fruit and stevia, new better-tasting glycosides of stevia have become more widely available and commercialized. The benefits of monk fruit with stevia have diminished in favor of glycosides like Reb D and Reb M. However, there is still an overall sweetness boost benefit if Reb D and M are used at high levels. Monk fruit can be added to products that require high sweetness at a potential lower cost-in-use since the stevia sweetness plateaus at high usage levels (reference the graph below).

Sweetness Profile of Stevia, Monk Fruit and Sucrose

Sample Monk Fruit Application

A demonstration of an application utilizing monk fruit is presented below as mogroside V 50%. In this sugar-free jelly demonstration, the Nascent team replaced sugar utilizing a combination of sugar alcohol, Reb A stevia, and monk fruit.

Ready to create your own formula for success? Partner with us and learn more about formulating in new applications with monk fruit. Contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!

Nascent Bolsters Stevia Supply Amid COVID-19 Global Supply Chain Shortages

Nascent Bolsters Stevia Supply Amid COVID-19 Global Supply Chain Shortages

An upsurge in demand for sugar alternatives, coupled with production and logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused significant supply chain disruptions for ingredients such as steviol glycosides, crystalline allulose, and erythritol. Product shortages have also caused longer lead times and prices have increased, further exacerbating matters for many manufacturers of food and beverage products dependent upon sweetener ingredients.

Here at Nascent, we have been focused on reinforcing the availability of our broad range of ingredients, including all grades of stevia from Reb A through Reb M — in both conventional and certified organic varieties — as well as a complete portfolio of 1:1 sugar replacement solutions. While some ingredient companies and suppliers have struggled with delays and shortages due to the continued fallout from COVID-19, we are pleased to inform customers that we are fully stocked on all stevia extracts, blends and flavors. Our inventory levels remain abundant in all our warehouses across the US, with dozens of metric tons of product available today.

Nascent Stevia Supply in US Warehouses

Nascent’s availability of supply is largely thanks to our continuous R&D efforts with Zhucheng Haotian Pharm Co., Ltd. (ZCHT), the world’s largest manufacturer of natural stevia extracts. Along with manufacturing economies of scale and its abundance of leaf supply, ZCHT couples high-efficiency extraction methods with high-yielding plant varieties to achieve the most economical and sustainable portfolio of targeted glycosides.

In addition to meeting supply shortages in this challenging market, Nascent has continued providing strategic consultation services with our customers on optimal formulation solutions, managing changing costs for ingredients and forecasting consumption trends.

For more information regarding our available ingredients and formulation advisory services, please reach out and connect with the Nascent Health Sciences team.

How to Use Inositol in Successful Product Applications

How to Use Inositol in Successful Product Applications

Formulas For Success is a monthly educational series from our leading formulation experts that covers the basics and fundamentals of trends in product formulation. Each time we’ll be featuring an emerging ingredient or combination of ingredients and sharing the key tips you’ll need to discover your own formula for success.

The Inositol Molecule
The Inositol Molecule

Inositol is often referred to as vitamin B8, but it isn’t actually a vitamin at all since it can be produced by our bodies from glucose. It is found naturally in foods like cantaloupes, citrus fruits, corn, rice, and beans. As a functional ingredient, inositol is most commonly added in product applications such as infant formulas, energy drinks, animal feed, cosmetics, and supplements. 

Properties of Inositol

Inositol is a sugar alcohol that is about 48% as sweet as sugar and possesses a similar flavor profile. It can easily be added to most food and beverage products since it has a clean taste at most common usage levels. It is easily soluble in water and is relatively stable in heat as well as acidic or alkaline conditions. While there isn’t a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), most sources suggest consuming 100 – 1000mg per day. For treatments of certain conditions, 1 – 12g may be needed. However, usages above 12g may exhibit side effects such as nausea, aches, tiredness, and dizziness.

Product Applications For Inositol

Infant Formulas

As breast milk is naturally rich in inositol, manufacturers of infant formulas may be interested in adding inositol into their products to promote metabolism or hair growth, and to help babies sleep. In formulation, 22mg or 100kcal could be utilized, which is the average amount found in breast milk.

Energy Drinks

Many popular energy drinks contain inositol, as it not only aids the nervous system, providing structure to cells, but also helps modulate serotonin levels. Serotonin is a key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings, and happiness. Some studies show that inositol may prevent neutral fat accumulation, helping the body to burn fat. Inositol is a key ingredient in our PQx™ Prevail sports performance beverage at 300mg/serving.

Animal Feed

Inositol may be safely used in feed or pet food as it may help in regulating metabolism and improve fur/hair growth. Aquatic creatures, birds, cattle, and dogs may benefit from this ingredient. Typical usage levels are 250 – 3000mg/kg.


Inositol, also known as rice water in some beauty products, may have water-binding properties for skin and hair. It may also help maintain healthy cell membranes. As the first chart below shows, inositol at a concentration of 1% is a cost-effective use level for moisturizing skin. At 1%, inositol has been shown to have the best effect after 2 – 3 weeks of continuous usage, as illustrated in the second chart below.


There is some evidence that inositol may have benefits when taken as a supplement. It can affect the neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin, and may be beneficial for treating anxiety and panic disorders. It may also aid blood sugar control by improving insulin sensitivity. And it may improve fertility in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) by assisting in balancing hormones. Inositol may also reduce symptoms of depression. Typical usage levels for treatments are 2 – 18g or lower levels for supplementation. As with any supplement, we encourage consumers to check with a medical professional to further understand the potential health benefits before treating with inositol.

Recommended dosage of inositol for foods and beverages

Inositol Hexanicotinate

The Inositol Hexanicotinate Molecule
The Inositol Hexanicotinate Molecule

A similar product we produce is inositol hexanicotinate, also known as inositol hexaniacinate, inositol nicotinate, and inositol niacinate. The body converts these ingredients to inositol and free nicotinic acid so it produces a slightly sweet taste. It may be used as a source of Niacin (Vitamin B3) or used to widen blood vessels and increase blood flow. At 3g/day, it may improve blood circulation for people with Raynaud’s Syndrome — those who suffer from pain in their fingers and toes when cold due to poor blood circulation. In Europe, it is sold as the drug Hexopal.

No. 1 Global Manufacturer of Inositol

Inositol is a core ingredient of our health supplements and cellular nutrition portfolio. Nascent Heath Sciences is the world’s largest and leading supplier of inositol. Our inositol is extracted from only non-GMO corn, making it an ideal choice for clean-label product applications.

Ready to create your own formula for success? Partner with the world’s largest manufacturer of inositol and learn more about formulating in new applications with inositol. Contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!

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