Can creating delicious, reduced sugar and sugar free products be so simple? It just might be.

Autumn Family Celebration

As summer quickly fades and fall is thrusted upon us, we are already seeing new seasonal products on the store shelves. Starbucks® in-home Seasonal Favorite Non-Dairy Creamers, KIND Caramel Almond Pumpkin Spice bars, and Jelly Belly Apple Cider Mix jellybeans are a few great examples. These are simple reminders that the holidays are on the way. And with the holidays come new product launches and recipes that require sugar for a more functional purpose than just satisfying a sweet tooth.

As developers, we are aware of the functional necessity sugars contribute to food and beverage formulations. We are, most of the time, given an ‘impossible task.’ We are challenged to formulate new product concepts that meet the continuing growing demands for lowering sugar content and maintaining product quality while improving cost across increasing application interest.

But it doesn’t always have to be difficult when it comes to sugar reduction. A little honesty here. Sugar reduction is not easy, either. But when using the correct type of ingredients together in the right combination (…and with the help of your Batory Technical Specialist), success is just around the corner.

Replacing the Bulk

In most applications, we first want to replace the ‘bulk’ of the sugar.

But we need to have a general understanding of exactly how that bulking ingredient contributes to the system. How much sugar is being replaced? What are the functional properties that need to be replicated (i.e., solubility, crystallization, freezing point depression, etc.)? If your application is a beverage where bulking is not necessary, then consider this step secondary to build back mouthfeel as needed in your formulation.

Ingredients such as maltodextrin, soluble fibers, sugar alcohols, allulose, etc., are all functional bulking options. These ingredients are used in various ratios together to achieve the desired functionality similar to sucrose since they each have varying properties. Examples of this include:

  1. Sugar alcohols do not contribute to browning
  2. Soluble Fibers will create a glassy texture and appearance
  3. Maltodextrins have reduced solubility compared to sugars
  4. Allulose is highly soluble and hygroscopic

Once the ‘bulk’ of the sugar reduction ingredients have been identified and blended for the functional properties needed for the application, the sweetness is the last to be built back to match that of sugar.

Finding the Sweet Spot

This is only required if the bulking agents did not contribute to the overall sweetness or the sugar reduction target is high enough to require the additional ingredients. To add back any sweetness, the use of high potency sweeteners like stevia extracts, monk fruit extracts, and standards like sucralose or Ace K are common. In beverage applications where sugar replacement is the target, sweetness is the first attribute to match. If mouthfeel is missing, add a bulking agent, keeping solubility at the top of mind.

In all seriousness, this is an oversimplified view on sugar reduction. No, not all available options are created equal. But there are simpler, pre-blended options available on the market promoting all kinds of claims. They don’t all taste like sugar or have the same functional properties as sugar. Some don’t even come close. Nonetheless, they are still options, and some customers still find them useful.

However, if you’re looking for a solution that completely takes the guesswork out of your sugar reduction formulations across multiple application platforms, then look no further. Batory Sweet Essentials™ was scientifically formulated to mimic the functional properties of sucrose as a simple one-to-one (by weight) sweetener replacer. The exact combination of erythritol, allulose (soluble fiber), steviol glycosides, and stevia leaf extract in the Batory Sweet Essentials™ blends contributes to overall sweetness, solubility, freezing point depression, and browning properties similar to sucrose with minor changes to moisture and/or processing conditions.

Consumers Crave Indulgent Flavors

Now that we have walked through the general practice of sugar reduction in general application, we can quickly chat about the evolving consumer trends towards classic indulgent flavors combined with healthy and holistic well-being concepts. According to the 2021 Flavor Trends: A Comprehensive Overview by Novotaste[1], “Delivering on consumer cravings for nostalgia and indulgence in 2021, we will also see the return of classic favorites but in unexpected, more sophisticated forms. Think about childhood flavors re-imagined for premium applications. While the flavor preferences might have changed, consumers have wanted the indulgence. Although vanilla might be the most popular flavor, consumers want more mix-ins. From Caramel Cone to White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, that classic flavor is getting an upgrade.” And “with more than 1 in 3 Americans looking to add pumpkin treats to their pantries, it isn’t surprising that the seasonal flavor was everywhere,” Novotaste[2] expounded.

With that, try this “oh my goodness,” indulgent No Sugar Added Pumpkin Spice Smoothie.

This particular recipe happens to contain milk, but it is easy to modify using the ingredients you may already have in your kitchen, like unsweetened almond milk for a vegan and dairy-free version.

No Sugar Added Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

No Sugar Added Pumpkin Spice SmoothieIngredients:
  • ¼ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup crushed ice
  • ½ banana
  • 1-2 tablespoons Batory Sweet Essentials™ B-INTENSE
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice

Pumpkin packs a ton of nutrients and can help you stay fuller longer when consumed in the morning. This Pumpkin Spice Smoothie is a piece of permissible indulgence that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

It doesn’t matter if the application is a baked good, snack food, beverage, or anything else delicious. If the target is sugar reduction then simply take a deep breath and start at under the Inspiration tab.  Here you can find all types of other resources like application ideas, trends & insights, presentations, sugar reduction decision trees, etc., to help guide through your sugar reduction journey.

Keep playing with your food!! Let’s do it together.