The Allulose potential: “real sugar without calories”
A German start-up, Savanna Ingredients, is looking to scale the production of allulose monosaccharide, also known as allulose, which is a rare but up and coming natural sugar that it positions as “real sugar without calories”.
Allulose exists in very small quantities in nature. It can be found in foods such as figs, raisins, molasses and maple syrup.
Many people love real sugar just as it is – with the calories it contains naturally. In light of the ongoing nutritional debate, others would prefer it without calories and according to Savanna, it already exists.
Savanna Ingredient, based in Elsdorf, Germany (near Cologne), is owned by Pfeifer & Langen IHKG, a leading European food group and develops so-called functional carbohydrates, such as new types of sugar with specific characteristics.
Patents have registered for production methods on an industrial scale and Savanna Ingredients sees potential in the initial production stages of allulose.
According to Innova Market Insights data, allulose as an ingredient is still very niche. The number of new food & beverage launches tracked with allulose increased by +267 percent in 2017 compared with 2016, but it is important to stress that this is from an incredibly small base.
More interesting is the fact that cereals and sugar and sweeteners are the leading market categories where allulose is featured as an ingredient. During the last four years, cereals and sugar and sweeteners are the top market categories for new food & beverages launches with allulose, both accounting for 36 percent of the products.
MD at Savanna Ingredients, Dr Timo Koch says: “Natural sugar without calories occurs in nature – but only in very small quantities to date. We have gained access to this way of nature and developed a method for producing real sugar without calories from sugar beets on a large scale – in other words, the ability to produce it for many people.”
“The actual debate on conscious nutrition focuses a great deal on the consumption of calories. With allulose, people will have the personal choice of consuming a natural sugar with its beloved characteristics – by avoiding calories.
“Stevia has disadvantages due to its taste too far away from real sugar. The same counts for its technological properties. Even sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol show properties, which differ significantly from a real sugar.
“Therefore we are convinced of a tremendous potential of allulose – it is a real sugar with the real taste of sugar. This is what so many people are longing for,” Koch says.
In explaining their procuess and how it differs to competing allulose products, Koch says: “Our process is an enzymatic one with high efficiency. It is overall more competitive than that of existing processes of competitors.”
Allulose has certainly been tipped as a trending natural sweetener, and a few suppliers have been innovating in the natural sweeteners space.
Suppliers on the market include Tate & Lyle, which in March 2017 announced a line extension to Dolcia Prima Allulose, a low-calorie sweetening solution that provides the full taste and enjoyment of sugar, but without all the calories.
Dolcia Prima Crystalline Allulose offers all of the same benefits as Dolcia Prima Allulose Syrup and opens up new categories and applications such as tabletop sweeteners, dry beverage and meal replacement mixes, fat-based creams and chocolate confectionery, according to Tate & Lyle.
Tate & Lyle’s Dolcia Prima Allulose product is also approved for use and is available in the US, Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Costa Rica, enabling food and beverage manufacturers to create healthier products with the taste, sweetness and texture that are similar to that of sugar.
Japanese modified starch and dietary fibre company Matsutani Chemical Industry has been involved in the development of allulose since the late ’80s with an inventor and founder of allulose production enzyme, Prof Ken Izumori from Kagawa University.
With approval for the sweetener now a reality in several markets, Matsutani which claims to be the largest producer of allulose globally, is looking to expand its reach.
The company offers a D-Allulose product, which is marketed as Astraea Allulose. In 2014, Astraea allulose was granted GRAS [generally regarded as safe] status by the US FDA and that has meant that an increasing group of companies are willing to use the sweetener to replace/reduce the sugar content in their products…..