Pioneer Foods in JV launch of new sweetener

Pioneer Foods is confident it has found the answer to bridging the gap between sugar and artificial sweeteners with Freesweet, developed by Durbanite, Deborah Good. Freesweet is due on retail shelves this month, reports Food & Beverage Reporter in its June 2019 issue.

It’s a proprietory blend of some well-known sugar alternatives – erythritol and xylitol, with inulin, Himalayan salt and vanilla flavouring.

It contains no artificial ingredients: all are from natural sources and are GMO-free. Freesweet is designed to replace sugar in a one-to-one ratio, and has been endorsed by Diabetes SA.

In addition to being carb-free, low in calories, and with a low-glycemic Index response; Freesweet has another advantage in that it bakes and caramelises almost identically to sugar.

Good says she developed the product over a four-year period, importing ingredients from all over the world. Her aim: to match, or even improve upon, the flavour profile of sugar – without the unpleasant side effects usually associated with other sweetener alternatives.

“Some alternative sweeteners have a laxative or bloating side effect and can leave a bitter aftertaste or mouth cooling sensation, while others use bulking agents that cause reduced satiety and could even be a precursor for obesity rebound,” says Good.

“My objective was to create an entirely new offering in the category of natural sweetener that has health benefits when used responsibly and address the negative issues that artificial and other natural sweeteners are not getting right.”

Once her product was submitted to, and accredited by international food technologists and nutritional certification bodies, she set to work to introduce it to the market.

Enter the big hitters

A partnership with Grant Rushmere, creator and founder of Bos Ice Tea and the new CEO of Freesweet, followed and the brand was on its way.

Says Good: “Freesweet then found the perfect joint-venture partner in Pioneer Foods. As a leader in the FMCG food sector, Pioneer Foods provides the ideal vehicle to an extensive market footprint and effective machinery to drive the brand.”

“The company’s support allows us to focus on product development, packaging, and brand extension, as well as a 360-degree marketing activation plan that will position Freesweet as one of the most promising emerging brands in the South African market.”

Pioneer Foods’ Business Executive for Groceries, Martin Neethling, says that the company is delighted to partner with Freesweet.

“We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of innovation, especially when it comes to introducing new products that support a healthy lifestyle,” Neethling says.

“Freesweet is a great fit as it has been designed to convert people to a long-term, sugar-free diet, thereby reducing obesity levels and the associated health risks.”

As a natural product that can replace the addition of sugar on a one-to-one basis, Neethling believes that Freesweet will dominate the market in sugar alternatives.

“I don’t think I have ever been more excited about a brand’s unique selling points and potential.” Martin Neethling, Pioneer Foods’ Business Executive for Groceries

Good says that FreeSweet is so much more than a well-researched formulation of natural ingredients.

“This is a product with a social conscience that can positively change lives. Initially, Freesweet will be sold as a stand-alone natural sweetener.

However, Good says “we are exploring options with Pioneer Foods to substitute the added sugar component with Freesweet in the production of its other brands – thereby significantly reducing sugar content without any noticeable sensory effect.”

Neethling agrees: “Our long-term goal is to essentially replace the sugar in any product, and Freesweet’s formulation as a complete sugar replacement makes this possible in all applications, from foodstuffs to beverages”.

Source: Food & Beverage Reporter, June 2019 issue: For more fascinating articles on sugar and sugar alternatives, view its June 2019 issue here…; Read more about the Freesweet journey here…

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