Cargill introduces zero-calorie fermented sweetener

by Jeff Gelski
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EverSweet is a zero-calorie sweetener that offers benefits in calorie/sugar reduction, taste issues and sustainability issues.

MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill has introduced EverSweet, a new zero-calorie sweetener that offers benefits in calorie/sugar reduction, taste issues and sustainability issues, according to the company.

A fermentation process involving baker’s yeast creates EverSweet. Although the sweetener features two steviol glycosides, Reb M and Reb D, that also are in the stevia leaf, it is not sourced from stevia.

EverSweet will debut at SupplySide West Oct. 7-8 in Las Vegas. Cargill expects EverSweet to become commercially available in 2016, or not until after Cargill receives a letter of no objection from the Food and Drug Administration on the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status for the use of EverSweet as an ingredient in foods and beverages. Food and beverage companies may contact Cargill for samples right now.

EverSweet does not have the bitterness or off-note aftertaste associated with stevia-based sweeteners, according to Cargill. Both Reb M and Reb D, two of the sweeter steviol glycosides, make up less than 1% of the stevia leaf.

“With such small quantities available in the plant, it would require significant land use and produce too much waste to be commercially or environmentally viable,” Cargill said.

In the creation of EverSweet, specially crafted baker’s yeast is fed simple sugars, which then are converted into Reb M and Reb D more efficiently and in greater quantity than from a stevia plant. Cargill and Evolva Holding SA, Reinach, Switzerland, in 2013 entered a joint development agreement to develop and commercialize the sweeteners. Evolva Holding develops fermentation-based approaches to ingredients, including stevia, vanillin, saffron and resveratrol.

Cargill said EverSweet works especially well in beverage items, including carbonated soft drinks, flavored waters, iced teas, energy drinks, functional beverages, ready-to-drink coffee, powdered drink sticks and liquid water enhancers. Possible dairy applications include yogurt, chocolate milk, ice cream, frozen novelties and smoothies. EverSweet also has been shown to work in cereal, bars and confectionery items.

“At a time when many consumers want to reduce sugar consumption and adopt healthier lifestyles, EverSweet sweetener offers a new, delicious choice for reduced- and zero-calorie food and beverages,” said David Henstrom, vice-president for health ingredients for Cargill.

For sustainability benefits, creating EverSweet through fermentation uses less land and emits less carbon dioxide than producing sweeteners by growing acres of plants, according to Minneapolis-based Cargill.

The baker’s yeast used to produce EverSweet is bioengineered/genetically modified.

“However, after the yeast produces Reb M and D, the yeast is completely filtered out, leaving only the great-tasting, zero-calorie sweetener,” Cargill said. “Laws and regulations vary significantly from country to country. In some countries the EverSweet product would not be required to be labelled as G.M.O.”

Cargill will continue to offer sweeteners made from the stevia leaf, including Truvia and ViaTech.

“Our EverSweet sweetener simply gives food and beverage makers another great-tasting, zero-calorie ingredient option,” Cargill said.
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