Following qualitative research into sports, energy and wellness drinks, BENEO-Palatinit, leading manufacturer of functional carbohydrates, has shown that the next generation sugar, PalatinoseTM, is well placed in the beverage market to meet growing trends.
The research, which was conducted amongst 158 participants in the US, UK and Germany, from December 2008 was undertaken to gain a better understanding of the emotional and psychological profiles and preferences of consumers in relation to energy, sports and wellness drinks at present.
Claudia Meissner, head of marketing at BENEO-Palatinit, comments: “Whilst the importance placed on taste and physiological benefits in drinks varies from country to country, we did find a common trend across borders in that consumers are more and more interested in naturally derived ingredients with nutritional benefits. In general, the research results have shown that the characteristics of Palatinose™ are being well received by consumers of sports, energy and wellness drinks, which is encouraging.”
The results not only show the attraction to Palatinose™ in energy, sports and wellness drinks, but also the credibility of the next generation sugar’s characteristics and benefits. Consumers liked the fact that the functional carbohydrate is a source of ‘prolonged, sustained and balanced’ energy in the form of glucose. They were also interested to learn of its other advantages such as the fact that Palatinose™ is naturally derived from beet sugar, less sweet than sugar, kind to teeth and has a low-glycaemic (GI 32) effect. Focus groups in the UK went as far as to name Palatinose™ the “latest in smart products”.
Energy drinks such as Red Bull, Rockstar, or Monster are mainly consumed as a ‘pick me up’ to give a boost of energy. Many of the study’s respondents explained that energy drinks help keep the mind lucid and focused while multitasking and being on the go.
When it came to the energy drinks category, the research participants were well aware that with today’s energy drinks they experience a ‘crash’ after consumption which is viewed as a ‘necessary evil’ of getting the boost they need. With this in mind, the group expressed a desire for healthier, more balanced energy release, but were unsure of how this could be achieved. There was also comment on the ingredients in energy drinks, with German consumers feeling that they were too artificial and unhealthy. In addition, a general wish for ‘naturalness’ in energy drinks underpinned the Mintel Trends report theme for purity this year.
Respondents in the focus groups cited their use of sports drinks (e. g. Gatorade, Isostar and Powerade) is to hydrate as well as replace energy. Prolonged or sustained energy was specific requirement from a sports drink, ranking higher than any other benefit. However, German respondents in particular viewed toothfriendly properties as an innovative and relevant added advantage.
The sports drinks category generated a wide range of feedback and showed some highly country-specific trends. Taste is a key factor in Germany when it comes to sports drinks - they need to taste good, but not be too sweet. In comparison, consumers from the UK and the US rated taste of little importance, whereas, the natural identity of the drink is highly attractive to UK and US purchasers, because they believe some ingredients can be too artificial. As nutritional rejuvenation is the main use of sports drinks, energy supply was examined in particular: in the UK and Germany, balanced energy with no sudden blood-sugar drops, was seen as a real benefit, whereas prolonged energy was a requirement amongst US sportspeople.
Where participants cited definitive needs from the consumption of sports and energy drinks, the wellness drinks category evoked more emotional requirements; many respondents described the importance for wellness drinks to be relaxing and cleansing while also being able to provide a feeling of strength inside and out, as well as aiding a clear mind for clear thoughts. A common theme among the different countries was that participants consume wellness drinks for hydration, replacing bottled water, which they find is lacking in flavour. Furthermore, the majority felt that they are a better alternative to beverages such as soda because of their so-called health benefits. The perceived ‘natural’ quality attached to wellness drinks appeals to consumers and drinks containing Palatinose™ benefit from being naturally derived from beet sugar.
“The focus group discussions were an important part of our consumer research approach and have given us further insights into the different needs of each country,” said Meissner. “They will also prove to be an enormous benefit to our customers, with whom we support to develop products on a daily basis.”
Claudia Meissner, head of marketing is available for scheduled media briefings to get further details and insights to the study.
For further information on BENEO-Palatinit and its ingredients, please visit: www.beneo-palatinit.com
The disaccharide PalatinoseTM (isomaltulose) is produced exclusively from pure beet sugar. Enzymatic re-arrangement of the alpha-1,2 bond between the glucose and the fructose molecule to an alpha-1,6 bond converts sucrose into PalatinoseTM.
Palatinose™ is the only fully digestible, low GI carbohydrate providing prolonged energy in the form of glucose. Its sensory profile closely resembles that of sugar and is about half as sweet. This mild, natural sweetness is not marred by any unpleasant side- or after-taste. Sensory tests have even shown that Palatinose™ can exert a positive influence on the flavour profile of end products, for example when functional – often comparatively bitter – ingredients are used.
Palatinose™ is non-hygroscopic, so it does not cake and remains dry and free-flowing, even on prolonged storage and at high temperatures. This means that it is very readily processed both into ready-to-drink beverages and into instant drinks. Since Palatinose™ is resistant to fermentation by microbes and lactobacilli, it can also be used in dairy products. Moreover, as a non-fermentable carbohydrate, it also stabilises the food matrix against bacterial spoilage. Under normal storage conditions and at moderate temperatures, it has the same storage characteristics as sugar. Palatinose™ replaces sugar in a 1:1 ratio in formulations and can be processed in exactly the same way.
PalatinoseTM was discovered in 1957 by the research and development department of Südzucker AG. Today, PalatinoseTM is produced on an industrial scale by BENEO-Palatinit GmbH. Founded in 1979, the company belongs to the BENEO Group, that was formed in autumn 2007 and is part of Südzucker AG.It owes its name to the Palatinate where it was discovered; this region of Germany was called ''Palatinum“ by the Romans.
Based in Mannheim, Germany, BENEO-Palatinit was founded in 1979 and is part of the Functional Food Group BENEO. The Group, formed in autumn 2007, also includes BENEO-Orafti as well as BENEO-Remy. It is part of the SÜDZUCKER AG - Europe’s largest sugar producer.
BENEO-Palatinit employs some 200 people in Mannheim and at its production facilities in Offstein/Palatinate. The company has a global presence with subsidiaries in the USA and Singapore, as well as 45 sales agencies in various countries.
BENEO-Palatinit manufactures the internationally approved products ISOMALT, Palatinose™ and galenIQ™, all of which are derived from pure beet sugar. Each product is characterised by its toothfriendliness, low glycaemic response and a mild, sugar-like sweetness. Moreover, the sugar replacer ISOMALT contains only half the calories of sugar. With tailor-made variants the ISOMALT family is available for a wide range of applications. Worldwide, almost 2,000 products are made with ISOMALT – in sugar-free hard-boiled candies, it is the internationally most widely used ingredient. The new functional carbohydrate Palatinose™ is characterised by a long-lasting energy supply. As a result, it has a wide range of application possibilities in foods and beverages with a sports and wellness positioning.
For pharmaceutical applications, BENEO-Palatinit produces the excipient galenIQ™, which is chemically also based on hydrogenated isomaltulose, but manufactured according to pharmaceutical guidelines.
BENEO-Palatinit offers comprehensive service and consultancy to customers, including production technology, formulation development and product optimisation as well as regulatory advice, market research and marketing support.
BENEO-Palatinit has been ISO 9001 certified since 1994.