Sucrose (Sugar) is the conventional sweetening agent prevailing in the traditional food processing industry. Consumer behavior, however, is shifting to a more health-conscious direction.
While sugar alternatives do not provide a comparable amount of calories, they are successful if they match closely the taste quality of sucrose. Sugar reduced products are usually the most challenging to develop due to sugars physical attributes (taste, mouthfeel, texture).
Rising disposable incomes and changing tastes will continue to drive growth in healthier food products. Sugar reduced products also benefit from the ”better for you” where consumers are looking for ways to eat food, treats, snacks etc that are beneficial to their health.
The development of high-quality, sugar reduced consumer products require use of appropriate ingredients to replace sugar without negatively affecting the physical and organoleptic properties. This is because sugar is added not only to promote sweetness, but also exerts many functional properties that make it useful as a bulking agent, texture modifier, mouth-feel modifier, flavor enhancer and preservative.
For example, in jam, sugar is around 50 % of the entire volume. In chocolate, sugar is important for the structure – the sugar particles ensure that the chocolate flows as it should and that it melts in the mouth, without a grainy texture. In ice cream, sugar helps lower the freezing temperature so that we can eat soft ice cream even when it’s very cold. In baked goods, sugar ensures that cakes get a dark and baked surface. There are a lot of different things to take in to consideration when replacing sugar in foods and beverages.