How to Formulate with Stevia in Beverages & More

How to Formulate with Stevia in Beverages & More

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.

Did you know that what we conventionally call “stevia” actually describes a family of 100+ glycosides that can be naturally extracted from the stevia leaf, each of which have their own unique properties and profiles? This breadth of variety with stevia is what can present challenges when it is used in formulation compared to more traditional sugar substitutes such as sucralose and aspartame. To help address these challenges and break down some of the complexities of formulating with stevia, we’ve compiled this starter’s guide for using stevia in beverage (and various other) product applications. This guide will focus on development of a thin beverage, the suggested usage levels for different stevia types, and how to choose the best stevia for such beverages (Note: As we’ll explain later, with thicker beverages, the max use levels for stevia will typically be higher).

What are the Maximum Usage Levels of Different Types of Stevia Types?

The chart below is a summary of maximum use levels for several stevia types, including our proprietary SoPure™ Stevia blends. These estimates allow for some minimally acceptable off-notes in taste, but this will vary based on the application and other ingredient interactions. For additional reference, an approximate sucrose equivalent value is provided for each type.

Stevia TypeEstimated Maximum Usage in WaterApproximate Sucrose Equivalence (%)
Reb A 60225ppm4.5
Reb A 80250ppm5.2
Reb A 97325ppm6-7
Reb A 98360ppm6.5-7.5
Andromeda400ppm7-8
Crest V600ppm9
Plus175ppm (as natural flavor)2.4

In addition to the stevia types listed above, SoPure™ Pegasus, Pinnacle, Reb D, and Reb M are a few premium varieties which do not have many off-notes and can be used at levels exceeding 600ppm. For guidance on the sucrose equivalence for these particular varieties, reference the graph below that illustrates Reb M’s estimated sucrose equivalency by usage level (ppm).

Approximate Sucrose Equivalence of Reb M by Usage Level

Approximate Sucrose Equivalence of Reb M Stevia by Usage Level
Source: Prakash et al.

How to Choose the Right Reb A

These days, Reb A is the most widely used type of stevia due to its pleasant sweetness and more economical cost. When formulating, it’s worth considering higher purity Reb A’s as they exhibit more sweetness and a cleaner taste compared to lower purity grades. As an example, if your product is currently using Reb A 50 or 60, you may consider switching to Reb A 97 or 98. Although the higher purity may cost more, this is offset because the higher grades have higher sweetness levels and thereby require lower use levels and concentrations. In effect, there is little, if any cost-in-use increase and as a bonus, the higher purity grades may result in a slightly cleaner taste.

Formulating For Smoothies, Jams, and Cookies

A thicker product such as a smoothie may be able to use Reb A 80 at 300ppm or more. The thickness of the drink affects how much and how fast stevia molecules get to the sweetness and bitter receptors on the tongue. The thicker the product, the longer it takes for the stevia to reach the receptors and if it does not get to the receptors before being swallowed, it’s possible not to taste any bitterness at all. A fruit jam may be able to use double the thin beverage use level and a dry application like a cookie may be able to use up to three times the thin beverage level.

Cost Efficiency in Formulation: Maximize Use of Low-Cost Reb A

In order to optimize cost-in-use of stevia for your product application, we recommend starting with determining the maximum use level of Reb A (keeping in mind that the stevia types that offer the best value for quality are likely Reb A 98 or Andromeda). For example, you might begin with 400ppm of Andromeda to get about 7 sucrose equivalents, and then decide you’d like a little more sweetness in the product and add 100ppm of Pinnacle to achieve your desired sweetness level. On the other hand, you could simply use approximately 450ppm of Pinnacle to get a similar product, but you’d be paying more for premium stevia. By starting the development process with Reb A, you can maximize use of the lower-cost stevias but still achieve desired quality and sweetness.

Other Factors: Solubility, Stability in High Temperatures, Shelf Life

In addition to all the variables already described, there are still other factors that should be considered when choosing the right types of stevia to use in formulation. In some cases, processing requires the stevia to be batched in concentrated form. For these scenarios, the solubility of the stevia should be measured. Reb A 80 and lower purities have a significantly higher solubility and should be considered for these types of applications, whereas Reb D doesn’t have a high solubility so should be avoided in concentrates. Another consideration is temperature. Will you be baking your cookie above 284° F? If so, you may not want to use Reb M as it becomes less stable above that temperature. When it comes to the shelf life of the product, stevia is more stable in ready-to-drink beverages when the pH is above 3. If your application is ready-to-drink and the pH is close to 3 or below, it would be prudent to monitor shelf life in real life conditions as the sweetness may degrade slightly over time. Our research has shown that accelerated conditions don’t truly replicate actual conditions but can provide some indication of stability. You may want to be proactive and include buffers in your formula to raise the pH level prior to a shelf life study.

Sugar Reduction vs. Complete Replacement

Stevia has a slightly later onset of sweetness than sugar and tastes sweet longer (reference the graph below that illustrates the sweetness intensity of different sweeteners over time). To best replicate the upfront sweet profile of sugar and HFCS, it is best to perform a sugar reduction. However, if a complete replacement is needed, we would recommend combining with another upfront sweetener like allulose or erythritol. If you’re interested in learning more about formulating stevia alongside acids, link to this post for deeper insights on this topic.

Source: Lindley et al.

Our Formulation Experts Are Here to Help

Ready to create your own formula for success? For assistance with stevia in beverage formulations, please contact us for a consultation. Depending on your application, intended sucrose and stevia levels, labeling requirements, and budgeted cost, we can provide personalized recommendations.

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
Water87.63g93.5275g99.43g
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
Total100g100g100g

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!

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!

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.

Cosmetics

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.

The FDA has confirmed inositol is safe for use in cosmetics.

Supplements

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!

Crystal E® Natural Vitamin E for Brain, Skin, and Vision Boosting Benefits

Crystal E® Natural Vitamin E for Brain, Skin, and Vision Boosting Benefits

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.

In our last edition, we illustrated how to achieve sugar reduction in bars using our original formula for a granola crisp bar as an example. Although the formula showcased a variety of sweetening solutions, it can also serve as a great demonstration of how to boost the health and nutritional value of food & snack products with the functional ingredient Vitamin E.

What Are The Benefits of Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a nutrient that’s important to vision, reproduction, and the health of your blood, brain, and skin. The key to these benefits of Vitamin E is its powerful antioxidant properties. The process of oxidation and accelerated aging takes place in our bodies when cells are exposed to molecules called free radicals. Although free radicals form as a result of normal body processes, they can weaken and break down healthy cells. These molecules cause damage that shortens the life of our cells and may contribute to heart disease and cancer. The antioxidant Vitamin E may help reduce free radical damage and slow the aging process of cells. To take advantage of these benefits, the recommended daily dosage of vitamin E for adults is 15 milligrams a day.

Crystal E® Natural Vitamin E Powder

As a part of Nascent’s portfolio of health supplements and cellular nutrition ingredients, Crystal E® Vitamin E Powder is our brand of natural Vitamin E for manufacturers of food & nutrition products. Crystal E® is stable, readily bio-available, has good flowability, and preserves vitamin E’s original form as α-tocopherol (based on the FDA’s updates to the new supplement facts panel in the US, Vitamin E is now required to be labeled as α-tocopherol).

Crystal E® is co-crystallized to a stable, crystalline powder without any chemical modifications or an encapsulation process. It is available in its original form from a natural source (d-α-tocopherol ) by way of our patented production process. The current acetate form produced by esterification destroys its natural properties, making it less bio-available and reduces its antioxidant capabilities. Microencapsulation typically uses gelatin, an animal-based ingredient, but a plant-based starch form is also available at a higher cost.

Typical Vitamin E oil decomposes by roughly 22% over 4 weeks when stored at an accelerated temperature of 60˚C, whereas our co-crystalized product stays stable. Crystal E® was also shown to be much more stable when mixed with minerals or exposed to light. Minerals typically accelerate the decomposition of vitamins.

Stability Graph of Crystal E® Vitamin E vs. Vitamin E Oil

In a tablet or pill application, Crystal E® only needs 26% of the mass compared to synthetic α-tocopherol acetate powder (50%) due to its higher concentration of α-tocopherol. The higher concentration also has environmental and sustainability benefits because it doesn’t consume acetate anhydrate or silicone dioxide in the production process, and generates savings on packaging, shipping, storage, and production equipment costs.

Comparing the Cost of Crystal E® vs. Other Commercial Vitamin E Products

Here is a general cost comparison to the most common Vitamin E types on the market, including natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic forms of Vitamin E.

TypeProduct NameForm% of D-a Tocopherol1.0kg D-a-TECost per kgCost for D-a-TE
Pure NaturalD-α-tocopherolUnstable Oil100%1$95 per kg$0.095 per gram
Pure NaturalNatural Crystal E®Powder85%1.18$110 per kg$0.129 per gram
Semi-SyntheticD-α-tocopherol acetatePowder45%2.22$60 per kg$0.133 per gram
Semi-SyntheticD-α-tocopherol succinatePowder81%1.23$70 per kg$0.086 per gram
SyntheticVitamin E 50% Starch-based, No SiO2 or gelatinPowder22%4.55$30 per kg$0.135 per gram
SyntheticVitamin E 50% SiO2-basedPowder22%4.55$33 per kg$0.148 per gram
SyntheticVitamin E 50% Gelatin based (animal sourced with Al SiO2)Powder22%4.55$11 per kg$0.05 per gram

For a 90 count 15mg dosage product, the cost of Natural Crystal E® equates to $0.17 per bottle.

Ready to create your own formula for success? If you’re interested in learning more about formulating with Crystal E® Vitamin E Powder, contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!

Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO) for Sugar Reduction in Bars

Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO) for Sugar Reduction in Bars

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.

Last time, we covered formulation tips for the dietary supplement Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) and featured a sample formulation in an energy bar. That generated interest amongst our readers in learning more about how to best formulate for sugar reduction in bars. It’s a common question our experts are asked since replacing sugar in a bar comes with unique challenges and requires a careful consideration of ingredients. For such product applications, we often turn to the prebiotic ingredient Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO).

What is Isomalto-Oligosaccharide?

IMO is a sweet bulking syrup produced from starch using enzymes. In the US, it is no longer considered a fiber but rather a prebiotic ingredient (Canada, however, does still count it as a fiber). The syrup has 3 calories/gram, 0.75 carbs/gram, 0.075g of added sugar/gram, and is approximately 34% as sweet as sugar. The taste profile is fairly clean, particularly at lower use levels but high use levels may present a taste similar to that of pine needles. IMO is available from corn or tapioca sources and can be applied in syrup or powdered forms.

The Challenges of Sugar Reduction in Bars

Substituting sugar in a bar is much more complicated than substituting sugar in a beverage, where water can be used to replace sugar in a 100% formula. When removing syrups in a bar, the binding capability in a bar is impacted. Another hurdle when reformulating a bar is the need to maintain a 100% formula. One change in an ingredient’s percentage necessitates a need to change the percentage of something else in the formula.

Something that will also be important to consider in the formulation of a bar is shelf life — namely, stopping the bar from hardening. Choosing ingredients that do not tend to harden over time is essential. It’s recommended that close attention is paid to ingredients such as the syrups/binders, lecithin, gums, fibers, sugars, and the addition of glycerin or something similar that helps maintain softness.

Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO) Formulation Example

To solve for these challenges of reducing sugar in bars, IMO is an ideal sweetener to use. To illustrate IMO in action, we created a granola crisp bar as a sample formulation. In this bar, we removed 50% of the brown rice syrup and countered with the addition of IMO syrup, stevia, and some more of the toasted oats. A balance of binding capacity and dry ingredients needs to be considered when making these types of changes.

To calibrate our mix of sugar reduction ingredients, we experimented with multiple syrups including Nascent’s allulose syrup and our other dietary fiber syrups. However, the other syrups didn’t have the binding capacity of the brown rice syrup and the bar fell apart more easily. If one were to formulate with a lower reduction goal than the 50% removal, the other syrups would likely be acceptable. In the findings from our testing though, Nascent’s isomalto-oligosaccharide (IMO) exhibited the best binding capabilities, similar to that of brown rice syrup.

Additional Ingredients to Consider

When using a binder in bars, it can be very sticky and manufacturing customers will likely need measures to prevent the bar from sticking onto their rollers when producing at commercial scale. The addition of oil will help but you will then need to add an antioxidant to slow oxidation over shelf life. As part of our ingredients portfolio, Nascent offers a patented Vitamin E which preserves the original α-tocopherol form for increased bioavailability. This can be added as a natural preservative for the oils in the bar.

Fiber is a common ingredient to be added to bars. Nascent has multiple fibers that can be included in bar formulations. In our granola crisp bar example, inulin was chosen as it also helps with the binding capability.

Another common ingredient in bars is proteins. Soy is a popular choice among manufacturers for a plant-based protein. Nascent can help identify other sources of protein powders such as pea or fava bean. Our technical teams regularly conduct thorough evaluations of top suppliers and can offer expertise on which powders offer the cleanest taste at a relatively low cost.

The delicious – and attractive – finishing touch for our bar is the chocolate coating. It can be drizzled on top, bottom coated, or fully enrobed. While the coating has a higher melting point than typical chocolate, a controlled-temperature distribution is likely needed to prevent the coating from melting during shipping.

Need the recipe for the granola crisp bar? Or ready to create your own formula for success? If you’re interested in learning more about formulating with Isomalto-Oligosaccharide (IMO), contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!

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