‘To reach its true potential’: Ingredient bigwigs create consortium to drive EU recognition for low-calorie sweetener
Cosun Beet Company, Ingredion Incorporated, Matsutani Chemical Industry and Samyang Corporation have joined forces to drive efforts to get allulose officially recognised as a novel food ingredient across Europe (including the UK).
The newly-created Allulose Novel Food Consortium (ANFC) is preparing an application to get the naturally derived rare sugar labelled as a carbohydrate by the European Commission and the UK Food Standards Agency.
Allulose is a monosaccharide that is only found in small quantities in wheat, fruit (raisins, figs) and foods like molasses, maple syrup and brown sugar. It can, however, be produced in larger quantities through the use of enzymes from corn, sugar beet and other carbohydrate sources.
The ingredient provides about 70% the sweetness of sucrose and has a similar taste profile. It also has similar functional properties including bulking, browning, freeze-point depression, mouthfeel and texture. In addition, it does not crystallise in dairy products.
However, scientific studies have shown that allulose contributes 0.4 calories per gram, that is, just 10% of the calories of standard sugar.
Allulose was first identified in wheat in the 1940s and today is authorised as a food ingredient in Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea and the US. In fact, in South Korea, Singapore and Japan, it is classified as a ‘zero calories’ sweetener. In addition, it is GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe) by the FEMA (Flavour Extract Manufacturers Association) for the use as a flavouring.
Allulose is already authorized for distribution and consumption as a food ingredient in many countries, including Japan, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and the US. It is also under regulatory application approval in several other countries and regions.
It is currently under regulatory evaluation in many other countries. Enter the ANFC – which believes a single, joint, proprietary European Union (EU and UK) novel food application could accelerate the approval process.
ANFC’s members anticipate that EU regulatory approval will have far reaching benefits beyond European borders – being a highly influential driver for other international food regulators to bring this novel food ingredient to market.
Major public health drive
“Formation of the Allulose Novel Food Consortium is an exciting step forward towards accelerating more widespread use of allulose in Europe,” said Shigehiro Hayashi, GM of Overseas Business Strategy - Rare Sugar Business Dep for Matsutani Chemical and the company’s ANFC representative.
“With our members combined knowledge and expertise in the science of healthy food and beverage ingredients, we aim to enable allulose to reach its true potential and recognize that this could help in achieving a reduction in calorie intake – a major public health initiative.”
The Consortium is calling on other stakeholders interested in getting the approval of the ingredient fast-tracked in Europe to join the movement. Its next goal is to petition for the exemption of allulose from sugar labelling in the EU/UK market, as it is in South Korea and the US. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that allulose can be excluded from specification of the total sugars and added sugars on nutritional labelling, but still included in the amount of total carbohydrates.
- Samyang Corporation is a South Korean manufacturer of ingredients ranging from traditional commodities to highly functional specialties like allulose and dietary fibres.
- Matsutani Chemical Industry is a Japanese producer of modified starch products, dietary fibre products.
- Ingredion is a specialist that turns grains, fruits, vegetables and other plant-based materials into value-added ingredients for the food, beverage, animal nutrition, brewing and industrial markets in more than 120 countries.
- Cosun Beet Company is a European sugar beet processor, producing sugar and other innovative solutions like plant-based proteins, biobased homecare products and green energy.