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’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.
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.
Similar to allulose, erythritol is a favorite low-calorie sweetener choice for many food & beverage manufacturers, and is widely used in formulations together with stevia. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally occurring in fruits like grapes, peaches, pears and watermelons. It can also be found in mushrooms and fermented products such as beer, cheese, sake, soy sauce and wine. The typical process to produce erythritol involves using corn, enzymes, and a fermentation process. Our erythritol is strictly fermented from only non-genetically modified corn to meet the expectations of modern consumers for cleaner labels.
While erythritol is a sugar alcohol, it is distilled and produced in granulated and powdered form to replicate the form of table sugar and increase consumer adoption. When choosing erythritol for product formulation, especially in combination with stevia, it’s important to understand some of its key properties.
Properties of Erythritol
“Upfront” sweetener similar to allulose and sugar
Provides a sweetness level that is ~67.5% of sugar
Provides a sweetness level that is 9% higher than allulose
Less expensive compared to allulose
Non-caloric in nature (contains almost no calories)
Non-glycemic (will not spike blood sugar levels)
Heat stable (up to 160 F)
GRAS status by FDA
Non-artificial (fermented) production process
Erythritol is an important tool in the food and beverage formulation arsenal due to its abundance of beneficial qualities. It provides a sweetness level that can largely replicate sugar and that is higher than that of allulose. Its heat-stable property makes it a favorable sugar replacement ingredient in baking applications. It’s non-caloric in nature and provides a path towards usage in keto/diabetic friendly applications. A particularly important consideration for many food & beverage makers is that erythritol is less expensive and more cost-effective than allulose. Finally, it has been granted “Generally Regarded as Safe” status by the United States FDA, permitting food and beverage formulators to utilize this ingredient in a wide variety of sugar reduction applications.
Erythritol Market Trends
In 2019, according to Innova Market Insights, erythritol accounted for 11% of food and beverage launches in US and Canada. It is more commonly used with stevia in North America compared to other sugar alcohols like maltitol and sorbitol, which are considered artificial due to the production process.
Erythritol vs. Other Sweeteners
The gastrointestinal impact of digesting erythritol is less than all other sugar alcohols and allulose, which provides a higher limit for formulation. The table below outlines how it compares to other bulk sweeteners in terms of production source, relative sweetness, calories and dosage limitations:
Formulation Example: Sugar Cookie Recipe
For demonstration purposes, we designed a test of erythritol vs. allulose in a sugar cookie formulation experiment. We created three batches of sugar cookies with each utilizing the same recipe, but one test version used only erythritol while the other test used only allulose. A traditional recipe utilizing sugar acted as the control for the experiment. All versions of the cookies baked at 350°F on the same tray for 13 minutes and rotated halfway through.
The experiment yielded significant differences in the baking results. Both erythritol and allulose test cookies spread less than the traditional sugar cookie. The allulose test cookie browned more than the other recipes while the erythritol cookie didn’t show much browning. In our experiment, the two test cookies were 100% sweetened with either erythritol or allulose and both produced less than perfect results. Ultimately, what the demonstration showed was that in a true sugar-replacement scenario, such formulations require adjustments to the formula/recipe and baking process to account for the different properties of erythritol and allulose compared to sugar. We should also note that the levels we used in our experiment below may be above the GRAS levels, whereas a commercial formula would utilize a blend of both sweeteners to achieve a browning effect more similar to sugar.
Erythritol and Allulose Sugar Cookie Recipe (via sallysbakingaddiction.com)
Erythritol Formulation Solutions
Nascent Health Sciences provides erythritol as a stand-alone ingredient or co-processed with stevia or monkfruit for various applications. Co-processing is vital for powdered applications as separation is likely to occur due to the particle size difference between erythritol and other powdered high-potency sweeteners. They are available as a direct 1:1 replacement for sugar, a 2X version, which is common for tabletop usage, and custom sweetness versions are also available upon request.
Need the recipe for the sugar cookie?Or ready to create your own formula for success? If you’re interested in learning more about formulating with erythritol and stevia, contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!
As trusted experts in providing innovative sweetener solutions for food and beverage manufacturers, we work with a lot of companies that share common challenges when it comes to formulation with stevia. Sometimes selecting the right ingredients for a formulation can either make or break a product. More often than not, the knowledge needed to formulate with newer, unfamiliar ingredients like stevia is hard to come by.
The SoPure Stevia team is excited to be launching our new initiative to address these marketplace challenges. Based on our highly successful industry seminars, 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.
Stevia + Allulose = The Sweet New Couple
In this inaugural edition of Formulas for Success, we’re highlighting one of the fastest-rising low-calorie sweeteners that everyone is asking about — Allulose. Allulose has quickly gained traction with food and beverage manufacturers due to recent FDA guidance which allows the ingredient to be exempted from total and added sugar counts in nutrition labeling. This makes allulose an ideal sugar substitute for formulators looking to achieve cleaner labels and sugar reduction.
Allulose is about 62% as sweet as sugar and provides a lot of upfront sweetness which means it can act as a great formulation partner to stevia, which has a later onset of sweetness. From our experience, an allulose + stevia combination is particularly effective in formulations where bulking is required, such as baking or confectionery applications. This is due to allulose’s ability to replicate and replace the texture and mouthfeel of sugar. In baking, we have found allulose to brown faster and spread less than sugar, so it requires some slight adjustments in formulation to reproduce traditional sugar-laden recipes.
Allulose Formulation Considerations
Cost is up to 4X the price of sugar and due to its lower sweetness intensity, the cost per unit of sweetness becomes even higher. When combined with stevia, the cost per unit sweetness becomes more manageable, though it may still be more than that of sugar.
Allulose is not digested by the body very well and in some cases, may cause gastrointestinal irritation and discomfort. Formulators will need to be mindful on usage when formulating for products with high consumption potentials.
Allulose has usage limits for food and beverages, as explained above, and further detailed on our SoPure website here. Supplements can utilize levels above those limits but off-notes may become more apparent when above the suggested usage limits.
Our testing with allulose and stevia combinations has revealed that the initial taste of a product tends to be perceived as sweeter but will level off over repeated and continued consumption. Taste adaptation is more noticeable in this combination rather than on their own or when compared to other combinations.
Sample Stevia + Allulose Formulation
To illustrate stevia + allulose in action, we designed a sample formula where we combined allulose with Reb A 99 and our new DGS Flavor TN in a confectionary product.
This dark chocolate was exhibited at SSW 2019 and highlights a wide variety of ingredients from the Nascent Health Sciences portfolio including PQQ, Inositol and Vitamin E. The chocolate debuted to rave industry reviews at the event and serves as an excellent demonstration of how stevia and allulose can make an ideal pairing.
For some more in-depth details on the functionality of allulose, its nutritional information, and other important characteristics of this increasingly popular sweetener, visit our allulose application support page.
Need the recipe for the sugar free dark chocolate morsels? Or ready to create your own formula for success? If you’re interested in learning more about formulating with allulose and stevia, contact one of our expert consultants for your product development and formulation needs!