SweeGen’s pipeline of non-caloric sweeteners broadens with Bestevia Reb I launch

13 November 2020


SweeGen has expanded its natural sweetener portfolio with the commercial production of Bestevia Reb I, a next-generation high-purity stevia sweetener.

As clean label, zero-calorie natural sweeteners enjoy a sustained appeal among consumers, this newest ingredient targets product applications across the spectrum, ranging from dairy, beverages, nutritional bars, confectionery to savory offerings.

“Reb I has its own unique and diverse flavor, much like other Rebs possessing their own characteristics. Yet, Reb I is another stevia natural sweetener used in our creative building block approach to sugar reduction,” Shari Mahon, chief of global flavor application technology, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

“We are seeing increased interest in natural sweeteners in the alcohol beverage markets, specifically in the low alcohol segment driven by the hard seltzers trend,” she adds.

“Our Bestevia Taste Modulation portfolio performs well in the hard seltzer products replacing up to 3 g of added sugars per serving, with the ability for the manufacturer to achieve a ‘natural flavoring’ label instead of a ‘sweetener’ label.” Interest in natural sweeteners has been pushed up in the low alcohol segment, driven by the hard seltzers trend.

Patented bioconversion technology

Reb I imparts a clean taste profile and sugar-like sweetness. It is produced by a patented bioconversion technology, starting with the stevia leaf. This process was developed by Conagen, a biotech innovator of sustainable ingredients.

“Our process is unique. Reb I is found in trace quantities of the stevia leaf. To start, we begin with sustainably-sourced stevia leaves,” details Mahon.

“Then, through the patented bioconversion technology, we are able to scale-up at commercial levels, highly sought-after sustainable, non-GMO zero-calorie stevia sweeteners.”

The rest of SweeGen’s proprietary portfolio of natural Bestevia stevia sweeteners are also produced with Conagen’s bioconversion technology and are distinguished with a non-GMO, high-purity and clean tasting positioning. Next to Reb I, this portfolio includes Rebs B, D, E and M.

“We are excited to continue building our sugar reduction toolkit with scalable, zero-calorie, non-GMO stevia ingredients for helping food and beverage manufacturers overcome hurdles in the product development process,” says Mahon.

“On the horizon, as consumers are curious about nutrition more than ever, we will see more demand for different flavors and sugar reduction in nutrition, such as gummies.”

Road to global regulatory approval

Natural sweeteners are on the rise in all product segments where consumers would like to see less sugar. “Dairy and beverages have the highest demand for natural sweeteners,” says Mahon. SweeGen has already received the FDA Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) no objection letter and acceptance from The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association (FEMA).

Last summer, SweeGen was granted regulatory approval of Rebs D and E in Singapore, adding to the previous approval of Bestevia Reb M by the Singapore Food Agency in 2019. Global regulatory approval is underway, the company notes.

“We are looking forward to additional unique and novel stevia sweeteners for providing greater flexibility and options to food and beverage manufacturers,” says Conagen’s vice president of innovation, Dr. Casey Lippmeier.

“As we are a vertically integrated company, we control all points of sourcing and manufacturing to offer our customers quality, regulatory compliance and competitive prices,” Mahon adds. SweeGen anticipates global regulatory approval for its Bestevia portfolio.

No slowing down sugar reduction

Sugar reduction ties into Innova Market Insights’ sixth Top Trend for 2020, “Macronutrient Makeover,” which shows no signs of abating.

Implementation of front of pack labeling schemes – such as Nutri-Score, which is seeing increased adoption in various European markets, or the traffic light system in the UK – is enabling consumers to understand better the composition of products in terms of the amounts of energy and nutrients the product provides.

In a recent FoodIngredientsFirst report, suppliers highlighted that the sugar reduction segment is branching out beyond stevia, with new launches of “label-friendly” wheat starch- and barley malt-based solutions.

As ingredient labels continue to simplify, reducing or replacing sugar using fruit and fruit juices was a highlighted theme at the ISM and ProSweets 2020 trade show in Cologne, Germany. As a prominent example, KitKat’s Cacao Fruit Chocolate upcycles powdered pulp from cocoa fruits to substitute traditional sugar.

Published by foodingredientsfirst.com on October 30, 2020


Sign up

    Fill in your contact details to sign up for our newsletter.