Trailblazing sweet innovation and taste optimization for better-for-you products – article

Taste technology innovator Sweegen is redefining healthier food and beverage products with advanced taste modulation and strategic sugar reduction approaches

June 21, 2024

5 Min Read
Trailblazing sweet innovation and taste optimization for better-for-you products

We all love sugar—whether it's a quick sugary drink for energy, a sweet treat to calm stress or a nostalgic dessert to remind us of simpler times. But Americans consume an average of 17 teaspoons of added sugar daily, 2 to 3 times the recommended amount, according to the American Heart Association. Reducing daily sugar intake to less than 10% of daily dietary energy intake has become a focus for both consumers and brands, but it’s not always an easy task to cut sugar content without sacrificing taste. That’s where companies like Sweegen are helping make this transition possible. The company’s innovative proprietary taste optimization tools ensure that health-forward products meet consumer taste and flavor expectations while reducing sugar content.

"We're not just about reducing sugar; it's about optimizing the entire consumer experience with our sweetener and taste modulation technologies. Our proprietary tools create a more enjoyable and health-forward product without compromising on taste,” says Casey McCormick, VP of Global Innovation at Sweegen.

Sweegen is dedicated to reducing sugar, artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy ingredients in the global diet. By partnering closely with brands, the company has created delicious, better-for-you products using high-quality innovative sweeteners like Bestevia® Rebs B, D, E, I, & M and sweet proteins like Brazzein and Thaumatin. Sweegen’s focus is to deliver market-leading solutions targeted to meet consumer preferences. “We’re not just following trends; we’re setting them,” explains McCormick.

Leading the Future of Wellness

Sweegen’s taste optimization tools enable brands to reduce added sugars and artificial ingredients while delivering delicious taste. The company’s holistic product development approach encompasses physical, emotional, intellectual, sensory, social, spiritual and environmental dimensions, resulting in a comprehensive strategy for innovating wellness.

The brand’s Innovation Studios in Southern California, Mexico City and London demonstrate the company’s focus on rapid, relevant and responsive innovation, helping Sweegen to establish a solid base for developing next-generation sweetener and taste modulation technologies. Strategic partnerships have further provided access to leading-edge technology, facilitating the efficient scaling of commercial production to cater to a broad market spectrum.

Pioneering Healthier and Delicious Taste Experiences

Within its work, Sweegen is reimagining the world of wellness by integrating nature-based ingredient technologies and innovations, powered by proprietary molecules, into the market. "We are disrupting longstanding industries with innovative technology that enhances health and enjoyment, striking a balance that resonates with consumers’ actual behaviors and desires," shares McCormick.

Recognizing the complexity of consumer dietary preferences and the challenges in promoting health-forward eating habits, Sweegen has developed Tastecode Natural Flavor Technologies. This global line of taste tools enables brands to unlock the code to delicious, better-for-you tastes consumers love with specialized tools for addressing specific taste challenges that arise when reducing the use of unwholesome ingredients. "We learned that simply removing sugar might sound good in theory, but it's not practical. People's behaviors don't always mirror their intentions. They aspire to be healthier, but their tastebuds revert to what tastes good," explains McCormick.

One of the most transformative examples of Sweegen's innovation capabilities is novel, new-to-the-world Brazzein, a sweet protein originally found in the fruits of the West African Oubli plant. This game-changing sweet protein is 500-2000 times sweeter than sugar and is calorie-free; an ideal sweetness tool for better-for-you product development. Unlike ordinary proteins, Brazzein delivers multidimensional product development benefits such as remaining stable across various temperatures and pH levels, offering ideal solubility for beverage applications and extending shelf life. It improves sweet quality and intensity while also elevating taste by expanding umami and other taste profiles.

Tastecode Natural Flavor Technologies embody Sweegen's commitment to dispelling the myth that healthy stuff can’t taste great by targeting specific taste challenges such as refining sweetness, smoothing bitterness, managing lingering notes, improving mouthfeel and cutting astringency. In practical terms, Sweegen's Tastecode approach leads to delicious, better-for-you product experiences that defy the norm—such as reduced-sugar beverages that retain their full-bodied flavor or plant-based dairy alternatives that deliver the creamy mouthfeel without the off notes often associated with plant-based protein.

This taste technology platform inspired the Sweetensify Collection, Sweegen’s exclusive collection of taste modulation flavors powered by sweet protein Brazzein. The collection showcases Sweegen's dedication to taste optimization in a health-conscious era, enabling the creation of healthier food and beverage products that offer fuller and multidimensional sweet taste experiences.

SweetensifyFlavors can help brands cut sugar while smoothing the alcohol burn for more premium cocktail experiences, making Juice Juicier with fresher flavor experiences, bringing out creamy chocolatey tastes, and replacing empty calories in soft drinks.

Seizing Market Opportunities

As a challenger in the industry, Sweegen sees the potential to differentiate with proprietary nature-based solutions. The company’s personalized approach creates effective, cost-efficient custom solutions, making them a compelling choice for brands looking to innovate or reimagine product lines. “Because everything we do is really focused on identifying novel solutions in nature and bringing them forward, oftentimes, the solution that we offer has a tremendously high level of differentiation from the rest of the market," explains McCormick.

Notably, because of its corporate size and deep level of expertise, Sweegen can navigate complex certification processes with agility to ensure its products meet stringent standards without compromising the company’s natural ethos.

Ultimately, for Sweegen, the focus is not merely on providing ingredients. Rather, it’s on working hand-in-hand with brands to optimize consumer taste experiences in a way that continually forges the future of wellness in food and drink with premium tools, technologies, consumer/sensory insights, and expertise grounded in making products both healthier and delicious. "We continuously bring new, natural sweetener and flavor solutions to the market, significantly impacting consumer health and manufacturers' bottom lines," says McCormick.

With a clear focus on future-looking solutions, Sweegen invites partners to join in a collaborative journey of taste innovation, promising a transformative impact on consumers globally. Noting that the last thing the world needs is just another sweet product, McCormick adds, "Our goal is to ensure that every new product we introduce to food and beverage brands contributes to well-being, resonates with consumers and has a positive environmental impact. It's not about just adding to the plethora of options available—it's about creating a legacy of healthier, enjoyable foods that truly matter in the larger context of public health."

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