Each week we collect the top stories and latest news in food trends and production, making it easy for you to stay current on science and innovation.

January 24, 2020

4 Min Read

Zero-calorie natural sweeteners surge in popularity: Here’s what you need to know

"Natural" reigns when it comes to food and beverage trends, and the low- and no-calorie sweetener category is no exception. Sales of stevia sweetener — led by Truvia Natural Sweetener — have eclipsed sales of artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, sucralose and saccharin. Last August, research firm Nielsen reported that stevia sales had grown 11.9 percent year-over-year, while artificial sweetener sales were down an average of 6.6 percent. The article includes discussions of stevia, monk fruit, chicory root and erythritol. Read more at Washington Post

Natural Sweeteners: Advance sugar reduction efforts podcast

In this podcast, noted experts in product formulation and market research such as Lynn Dornblaser of Mintel, Megan Bishof of Tate & Lyle and Afrouz Naeini of Ingredion comment on the landscape for alternative sweeteners, such as changing consumer perception of sugar and sweeteners; how industry is responding to meet evolving consumer demands for healthier products; and the impact of the “Added Sugar” declaration on the updated Nutrition Facts label. The group discusses several top alternative sweeteners including stevia, monk fruit and allulose. Listen at Natural Products INSIDER

Pet Doc: Natural sweetener can be deadly for pets

Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the bark of the birch tree. In humans, it has little effect on insulin release or blood sugar levels. This attribute is referred to as a low glycemic index. Xylitol’s sweetness is comparable to sugar but it has about half the calories. Because of this it has found its way into a variety of products, including sugarless gum, chocolate, peanut butter and toothpaste. It’s also sold as a stand-alone sugar substitute. But in cats and dogs, xylitol triggers a sudden and sometimes massive release of insulin. This can lead to depression, vomiting, tremors, seizures, coma and death. Read more at The Post and Courier

Why General Mills, Cargill and Puris are cheering Beyond Meat’s IPO

Beyond Meat, the California meat-substitute maker, soared on its first day on the public markets after a bigger-than-expected initial public offering. And it brought a couple of Minnesota companies along for the ride. General Mills was an investor in the startup, which uses pea protein and other vegetable products to make meatless burgers and sausages. And much of the pea protein used in its recipes comes from Minneapolis-based Puris, which in turn is backed by Minnetonka-based Cargill Inc. Read more at Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

Allulose, the new low calorie sweetener, is not an artificial sugar

Allulose is a new lower-calorie sugar that came out in 2015, and just received FDA approval. It’s found naturally in small amounts of some foods (like wheat and raisins), but is 70 percent as sweet as sugar and has about ten percent of the calories. So what is it? Allulose is classified as a “rare sugar,” because it’s naturally found in small amounts in a few foods. Because allulose is new to the sweetener scene, there’s very little long-term research, however, the studies that have been conducted seem promising—especially regarding weight loss and blood sugar management. Read more at Yahoo News

Extensive Investment in plant-based food on the American market

The American plant-based food market is currently booming, and investment in this sector is rising steadily. For example, Greenleaf Foods recently announced a $310 million investment in a new production facility, and plant-based producer Tofurky is being backed by further private investment. Read more at Vegconomist

Selectivity is a must in today’s exploding snack category

Innovation in the snack category is exploding. Shifting consumer demographics, increased fluidity around what is eaten and when, and shopper demand for high quality items that also taste great are driving the introduction of scores of new products touting clean label, plant based, high protein, low sugar, functional ingredients and fresh takes on old classics. For convenience store operators to be successful, it’s important they highlight innovation, while remaining selective in order to protect the integrity and productivity of their in-store sets. Read more at Convenience Store News

Pushing the envelope in digestive health

In the world of digestive health, both probiotics and prebiotics spearhead the industry. Probiotics are bacteria that improve and restore the gut flora and prebiotics lend a helping hand, serving as fertilizer for the probiotics. Manufacturers and brands in the digestive health space are increasingly pushing the envelope in terms of these ingredient’s advancement, delivery technology, formulation and expertise. The category has also widened as demand for products spans beyond a single probiotic strain or fiber source into combination products, as well as those containing digestive enzymes and various forms of prebiotics. Read more at Natural Products INSIDER

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