RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, CALIF. – Sweegen plans to launch the zero-calorie, high-intensity sweetener brazzein early next year. A small, heat-stable protein, brazzein is 500 to 2,000 times sweeter than conventional sugar.

The sweetener offers little to no aftertaste and helps to reduce sweet linger, according to the Rancho Santa Margarita-based company. Brazzein is stable in a range of pH, retains its qualities after pasteurization and is soluble. It shows promise in fitting into applications designed for the keto diet and other low-carbohydrate diets, according to Sweegen.

Brazzein is derived from the fruit of the West African climbing plant oubli. Sweegen developed the sweetener in collaboration with Conagen, Bedford, Mass., which has scaled it to commercial production. Conagen produces brazzein through a proprietary precision fermentation process.

“Introducing a high-purity brazzein to Sweegen’s portfolio of natural sweeteners is one more creative solution for helping brands make low-calorie, better-for-you products,” said Shari Mahon, senior vice president, head of global innovation at Sweegen. “Brands can look forward to exploring the synergistic benefits of combining brazzein and stevia for reducing sugar in food and beverages in a cost-effective way.”