Turning to tea

PureCircle last year launched Sigma-T, a stevia-based sweetener designed for tea. Some caloric or artificial sweeteners may suppress tea flavors or reduce tea quality as well as add unwanted bitterness or linger, Ms. Son said.

“We formulated Sigma-T with the specific glycosides from the stevia plant that provide sweetness while amplifying tea notes and flavor but also provide the necessary solubility and dispersion,” she said. “Interestingly, the stevia plant is native to Paraguay, and its leaves have been used for hundreds of years to naturally sweeten tea. So we are very excited to see more and more stevia-sweetened teas.”

Tea has a natural bitterness, which might negate aftertaste problems associated with some stevia sweeteners, Mr. Fabro said.

“You can put stevia in there, and the consumer already is expecting some bitterness from the beverage,” he said.

Southern sweet tea would be more of a challenge.

“That would be an incredible sweet product, a lot of sugar added to that,” he said.

In coffee, formulators should focus on getting enough sweetness up front, Ms. Son said.

“Again, because each steviol glycoside from the stevia plant is unique, we’ve had a lot of success finding the right combinations that more closely deliver the sweetness taste experience over time, while maintaining those coffee flavor notes,” she said.

Other ingredients may reduce sugars in beverages and complement high-intensity sweeteners.

A new Fibersol ingredient, Fibersol-2L is designed for beverages.

“This new product has the same low-calorie content of Fibersol-2 with 90% soluble dietary fiber and is very easy for manufacturers to incorporate into other beverages,” said Doris Dougherty, Fibersol technical service representative for the Wild Flavors & Specialty Ingredients business of Archer Daniels Midland Co., Chicago.

ADM/Matsutani, L.L.C., a joint venture between ADM, Matsutani Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. and Matsutani America, Inc., supports the worldwide sales and marketing of Fibersol. One gram of Fibersol equates to the mouthfeel of about 10 grams of sucrose, but Fibersol is just 1.6 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram for sugar, said Yutaka Miyamoto, executive vice-president for Matsutani America.

In one prototype, Fibersol reduced sugar in a cranberry flavored energy drink, Ms. Dougherty said.

“We use Fibersol to mask the zero-calorie sweetener and reduce certain bitter, harsh notes,” she said.

Inulin, a soluble fiber, may work in instant beverages, soy drinks and flavored waters, according to Sensus America, Inc., Lawrenceville, N.J. It may strengthen the sweetness of high-intensity sweeteners while masking aftertaste. Sensus offers Frutafit and Frutalose inulin ingredients, which may act as sugar substitutes in many food and beverage applications.

Beneo, Inc., Morris Plains, N.J., offers oligofructose derived from inulin through partial enzymatic hydrolysis as a way to reduce sugar and increase fiber content in products. The oligofructose ingredients under the Orafti brand range from 30% to 65% as sweet as sugar. Cargill, Minneapolis, offers Oliggo-Fiber inulin and oligofructose ingredients.

While beverages account for nearly half of the added sugars in the United States, sweets and snacks account for 31%, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

FMC Corp., Philadelphia, is promoting carrageenan sourced from red seaweed as a sugar reduction ingredient.

“Carrageenan can be used in a wide variety of snacks and desserts to replace added sugars and enable healthier options that fully comply with the new Dietary Guidelines,” said Ross White, applications manager, Americas. “For example, carrageenan is frequently used in a number of sweet applications like ice creams, chocolate milk, yogurts, syrups, mousse and donuts.”

Carrageenan reacts with the dairy proteins in products like pudding to form a strong milk gel.

“The amount of solids in a product is reduced when sugars are removed, allowing this milk gel to take the place of the lost sugar solids,” Mr. White said.

Carrageenan binds tightly to proteins found in food and beverage formulations.

“By doing so, carrageenan is able to simulate the texture and stabilization of fat, sugar and salt – ultimately replacing these less healthy ingredients to deliver a more nutritious end product,” he said.