SweetDesign Dairy Systems, the first product in the line to hit the market, was unveiled at the World Wide Food Expo held in Chicago last week.
Cargill claims the product "can be easily customized to help food manufacturers satisfy consumer demand for convenient, calorie reduced frozen deserts," which have "taste and texture profiles that are similar to standard full-fat/full-sugar products," according to Paul Vajda, marketing manager at Cargill Food Systems.
SweetDesign is marketed as reducing the calorie and sugar content of products, as well as lowering their glycemic index, something that generally results in a slower energy release and consequent sustained energy levels.
The product contains a variety of sweetening, stabilizing and texturizing ingredients, including Cargill's natural bulk sweetener erythritol.
A sugar alcohol, erythritol is a white crystalline powder that is odourless, with a sweet taste similar to sucrose. It is approximately 70 percent as sweet as sucrose and has a caloric value of 0.2 calories per gram.
The market for sweeteners in the US is enjoying significant growth on the back of consumer health concerns. A recent report from Business Communications (BCC) predicts that although sugar alcohols and HIS (high intensity sweeteners) are still relatively new and unexplored sweeteners in the $10.92 billion global sweetener market, their presence in the market is growing rapidly.
Total global sugar alcohol production was estimated at 836,905 tons, up 2.2 percent over last year. US consumption of sugar alcohols was estimated at 376,640 tons, nearly 79 percent of the total production of these sweeteners. In the next five years consumption of sugar alcohols and HIS is slated to rise as much as 15 percent as new sweeteners make their debut, and improvements come about in those already in wide use.
Last month Cargill announced the launch of another sweetener product, Xtend sucromalt, a fully digestible, slow release carbohydrate designed to deliver the full energy of sugar but with less calories.
The launch came just after Cargill reported an 18 per cent leap in quarterly profit. The supplier of sweetener, pectin and whey saw earnings for the fourth quarter rise from $195 million to $230 million for the fourth quarter ended May 31, 2005.
For the 2005 fiscal year, the company pulled in $1.53 billion in net earnings, on revenue of $71.1 billion.