A surge replacers of in supply sugar

by Jeff Gelski
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Alarger market exists for sugar-free products, judging by the comments of Laurie Demeritt, president of The Hartman Group, Bellevue, Wash. Ms. Demeritt spoke at the F.M.I. Show on May 8 in Chicago and said many consumers, whether they are right or wrong, link sugar to such problems as obesity and diabetes. Sugar is becoming the next "demonized" ingredient, she said.

Statistics from the American Diabetes Association, Alexandria, Va., help show why demand continues for sugar-free products. More than 73 million Americans either have diabetes or are on their way to getting it, according to a study published in the June issue of Diabetes Care, the association’s journal for health care practitioners. The study from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9% of American adults age 20 and older, or 19.3 million people, had diabetes from 1999-2002. Another 26% had impaired fasting glucose, a form of pre-diabetes.

Two recent developments could affect sugar-free product formulation. First, Roquette America, Inc., Keokuk, Iowa, has introduced its Polysorb FM hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. A new bulk sweetener, Polysorb FM offers fiber, reduced glycemic index and reduced calories for applications in the dairy, bakery and confectionery markets.

Second, Tate & Lyle, P.L.C., London, has completed the first phase of expanding a facility in McIntosh, Ky., where it manufactures sucralose, the popular high-intensity sweetener that is about 600 times sweeter than sucrose. Tate & Lyle is telling customers it can handle more orders for sucralose, said Steve Jobe, vicepresident of food ingredient sales in the Americas, for Tate & Lyle.

Roquette will have a booth at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting and Food Expo in Orlando, Fla., this month. The company will provide samples of sugar-free cookies, no-sugar added ice cream, nutrition bars and assorted confectionery products that contain Maltisorb maltitol, Polysorb FM and maltitol syrups. Maltisorb, a polyol that is 90% as sweet as sucrose, provides ample sweetness when replacing sugar in many applications, said Carl Jaundoo, associate program coordinator of food and beverage for Roquette. Confectionery, baked foods, frostings and ice cream are applications where a one-to-one replacement of maltitol for sugar may be all that is required, Mr. Jaundoo said.

Maltitol also may be compatible with high-intensity sweeteners in a range of applications, Mr. Jaundoo said. That’s where the high-intensity sweetener sucralose may enter the formulation picture. Sucralose margins grew to 48% in the fiscal year 2006 ended March 31 from 40% in fiscal year 2005, said Iain Ferguson, chief executive of Tate & Lyle.

Expansion efforts continue at the sucralose plant in Kentucky.

"With the first expansion to the McIntosh facility completed and the second expansion due to come on stream, we are building up production and accelerating our work with customers on innovation and reformulation," Mr. Ferguson said.

He added that construction of a $175 million sucralose manufacturing plant in Singapore is scheduled to be completed in January.

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