The agreement with Japanese firm Nagase Group will see Cargill become the exclusive distributor for TREHA for use in foods and supplements in the European and US markets. The TREHA trehalose ingredient is manufactured by Hayashibara Co., Ltd., a Nagase Group company in Japan.
According to Cargill, the glucose disaccharide is around 38% as sweet as sucrose that serves several functions in foods and can be used in a variety of categories - from cooked proteins to bakery goods and snack products.
“TREHA trehalose could literally go into 20 different finished products for 20 different reasons," said Deborah Schulz, Cargill specialty carbohydrates product line manager. "This really is a unique ingredient that provides value in many areas due to its many functional properties.”
Bradley Hilborn, director of business development at Nagase America Corporation, added that the ingredient's 'unique functionalities' have already been used in food and beverage innovation in Asia "in extremely diverse ways."
“Our partnership with Cargill will help us bring these innovative solutions to the U.S. and European communities, as well as work together to discover new possibilities for the ingredient," he said.
Cargill added that some of the possible benefits and applications for the ingredient include helping cooked proteins such as chicken, shrimp pork and beef to retain moisture and texture, to increase softness and 'juiciness' and extending the shelf life of breads and baked goods by increasing the time it takes before products begin to stale.
The firm said that the carbohydrate has also been shown to improve glazes used on baked goods by making them less likely to stick to packaging and can also make the texture of snacks and baked goods lighter.
Schulz reiterated that the ingredient could serve "a multitude of purposes for food and beverage formulators."
Other potential applications include helping to prevent the formation of ice crystals and freeze-thaw damage and masking a wide range of unpleasant tastes and odours in beverages - noting that the carbohydrate is effective in masking everything from the aftertaste of some high-intensity sweeteners to the astringency of certain amino acids, said Cargill.