Agave sweetens new products

by Staff
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Manufacturers of products as diverse as ketchup and hot cereal have turned to agave to sweeten new products launched this year. The sweetener may lower the calorie and sugar content of products since agave is 300 calories per 100 grams and 25% sweeter than sucrose, said Joe Hickenbottom, vicepresident of sales and marketing for Malt Products Corp., Saddle Brook, N.J., which offers agave syrup.

"The price of agave is higher than most other sweeteners, but the higher cost is offset by its extra sweetness and lower caloric content," he said.

Mr. Hickenbottom added agave may inhibit microbial growth, increase water retention and freshness in foods, and is 100% fermentable.

Wholemato, New York, launched Spicy Organic Agave Ketchup that features agave nectar harvested from the agave plant of north central Mexico. The ketchup has a glycemic index of 7.

Amy’s Kitchen, Santa Rosa, Calif., launched hot cereal bowls sweetened with organic agave nectar. The product has 180 calories per serving. In 2007, Organic Blue Agave nectar sold at the retail level by Wholesome Sweeteners, Sugar Land, Texas, won a SOFI Award for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation at the Fancy Foods Show in New York.

Mr. Hickenbottom said agave has been used as a sweetener in such products as baked foods, juices, beverages, energy bars, soy products, cereals, sauces, salad dressings, chocolates and ice cream.

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