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Sugar & Sugar substitutes

Sugar has been an important ingredient in food for hundreds of years. Sucrose — also known as table sugar — adds flavor to everything from breakfast cereal to beverages. Sugar is much more than just a sweetener. Sugar can also be responsible for the color development in baked goods, the texture of ice cream or the shelf life in marmalades. It is not even only used in sweet products but also in savory applications improving the overall flavor profiles. Although these sweet, soluble carbohydrates have proven themselves reliable, sugar substitutes are gaining popularity in food and beverage applications. The unique properties of sugar and the many possibilities to use it make the challenge to reduce its usage even bigger.

Different Types of Sugar Substitutes

A sugar substitute is any sweetener that is added to a food product in the place of sucrose, fructose, or another type of sugar or sugar syrups. Although sugar substitutes all sweeten food products, there are many different kinds to choose from.

Two of the most common types are:

  • Sugar alcohols: Sugar alcohols occur naturally in many fruits and vegetables. Commercial sugar alcohols are manufactured through hydrogenation of sugars, commonly used sugar alcohols are sorbitol, maltitol, xylitol and isomalt. In general, sugar alcohols are less sweet than sugar, but they have fewer calories. In addition to providing sweetness, sugar alcohols add bulk to food products and keep them moist.
  • High intensity sweeteners: These products are significantly sweeter than regular sugar. They can be derived from natural sources or synthesized, and they often contain close to zero calories. Common high intensity sweeteners include sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame-K, and of course natural sweeteners such as stevia

Applications for Sugar Substitutes

Sugar substitutes are used in many common food products, in zero-sugar or no-sugar-added formulations but also in combination with sugars to reduce calories. Challenges that have to be faced are for example that the reduction of sugar in a product might reveal other tastes like bitterness or a change in texture which results in a different mouthfeel for the consumer. There is no universal solution for all type of applications and recipes, and the key to success is in many cases in the combination of different sugar substitutes and even the combination with other ingredients such as fibers. The technical challenge is complex. The Brenntag Food & Nutrition experts have the experience and knowledge to master this challenge and support you with your application.

Sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners can be found in:

  • Diet soft drinks
  • Dairy products
  • Canned foods
  • Bread and pastries
  • Confectionery
  • Jams and jellies

Get in touch

To learn more about the possibilities to use sugar and sugar substitutes in your product, please contact your local Brenntag Food & Nutrition expert.

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