Next-Gen Sweetener Shows 2020 Vision

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Lampados’ constant mission to seek out innovations in flavour and functionality. By Noam Kaplan, CEO of Lampados Limited.

 

About two-thirds of consumers are now concerned about their sugar intake, according to multiple surveys, including a recent one by BuzzBack Market Research. In the BuzzBack poll, nearly all of the consumers asked admitted that they do read ingredient labels. Moreover, they further explained that they read labels mostly to learn about sugar content.

With sugar at the top of everyone’s mind, a number of countries and municipalities are taking aggressive steps to curtail consumption of sugar and other caloric sweeteners. These steps run the gamut from passive oversight measures, such as enacting more comprehensive sweetener labelling laws (as is now happening in the U.S.), to such extreme measures as enacting legislation or imposing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages.

The result of all this expanded focus on sugar and other high-calorie sweeteners has been to leave food and beverage manufacturers struggling to create new products, or reformulate existing lines, to satisfy the sweet tooth inborn into nearly all cultures.

The challenge for makers of sweetened foods and beverages had always been to replicate the taste and mouthfeel of products made with sucrose, while leaving out the calories. Compounding this is the need for fully sweetened, lower calorie foods and beverages that meet the rapidly growing consumer demand for clean labels. For example, most millennials are open to products that use naturally derived sugar alternatives to sugar, according to the researchers at BuzzBack, with a third or more expressing concern over artificial sweeteners. For food and beverage makers, this has intensified into a concerted effort to “hit the sweet spot” without resorting to artificial ingredients.

As reported in the BuzzBack study, a “large majority” of consumers queried reported that they would “have a positive opinion of a brand that used natural sweeteners rather than an artificial one.” And the millennials count. The Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently disclosed that millennials are spending more of their grocery bill on prepared foods, including sugar and sweets, than any other generational group.

On the other hand, the ERS study also found that millennials are interested in buying “healthier” and “fresher” foods, as well as foods that are “convenient.” Today’s product makers recognise that even indulgent treats benefit enormously when they can offer a healthful component that does not detract from the pleasure of enjoying them.

 

A New Approach

Taking note of these paradigm shifts in the ways consumers satisfy their cravings for sweets, Lampados International Limited, an innovative sweetener company, markets The product was examined for these three dimensions of consumer demands—flavour, convenience, and health—and was constructed as an entirely new concept in sweeteners.

The result, the Liteez kiss, turned out to be a wholly new experience of sweetness. Whereas the traditional paradigm for a sweetener centred around powders, liquids, or tablets that serve the single function of increasing sweetness, Liteez has taken the category into a third dimension. The kiss can be used to sweeten hot beverages such as coffee or tea, or be presented as a sweet snack after a meal or for an indulgent treat. The product dissolves almost instantly, releasing full flavour and sweetness. The sweetness has proven in focus groups to be “very satisfying”, and, unlike many other low- and zero-calorie sweeteners, it carries no aftertaste.

Recent additions to the Liteez technology allow for the product to be customised in different colours or flavours. Even complex combinations of flavours, such as Irish Creme, can be made according to customer specifications. Each serving of Liteez (two meringue kisses totalling 5 g) weighs in at only 2 calories as opposed to 20 calories per teaspoon of sucrose or other fully caloric sugar sweetener (such as fructose or glucose).

Products made of or including plant proteins, as well as products that help support digestive health, are among the fastest growing and most sought-after categories. The novel Liteez product is completely vegan and gluten-free, as well as allergen-free. It combines vegetable proteins with prebiotic fibres and zero-calorie sweeteners such as stevia or monk fruit, into an eggless meringue. Prebiotic fibres have been shown to not only help enhance digestive health but also contribute to satiety, the feeling of fullness, following a meal.

In the Liteez kiss, the combination of high sheer and pressure creates a complete area for foaming, with thousands of small air bubbles becoming evenly distributed throughout the kiss as well as throughout a production run.

By bringing the synergy of technical know-how and sweet-yet-healthful indulgence to market, Lampados solves the problem of how to get sweet flavours into the daily routine without compromising on the diet and health issues that have proven to be of the highest concern to consumers.

 

Health Is Not Enough

Healthful ingredients are not the only qualities consumers are demanding in the foods and beverages they enjoy. They also demand the more contextual qualities be addressed in these products. They want the ingredients and products that take into account the overarching aspects of the environment and community, including ecological impact, sustainability, low carbon footprints, conservation, and other green issues. Food safety, too, consistently ranks as one of the primary issues consumers are focused on.

The team at family-owned Lampados felt the same way, so when the company expanded its plant operations recently, it took the opportunity to ensure the new facility was designed according to eco-friendly principles. The goal was to dramatically reduce energy and water use, while guaranteeing a safe and wholesome product that adheres to the highest standards.

To do so, the company designed an entirely automatic, closed-system production process that allows for complete oversight of every stage of production. This includes packaging, one of the more difficult processes to keep contained. Not only does the production process provides for saving energy and resources, it also ensures purity and product safety.

As a product requiring precision of timing and balance of ingredients in order to achieve perfect formulation foaming and structure, a meringue is highly sensitive to disruption via temperature, humidity, and even the slightest trace of contamination. By engaging a fully enclosed system, Lampados shields the manufacture of Liteez from deleterious elements throughout each step, while maintaining maximum flexibility of production for its clients.

This system has allowed the new Lampados facility to boost the original capacity by 22 times, yet manufacture all its products according to the strictest certifications, including HACCP-BRC (Grade A), kosher, and ISO 9001:2008, and meets or exceeds all standards and requirements of food manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.

Some specific design steps Lampados took include creating a more controlled foaming system that allows for a reduction of water in the mixture by 9 percent. This reduction also, in turn, saves energy in the drying process. Heated pipes were employed to save another 6 percent energy by moving the material from cold to drying temperature more rapidly.

By shifting to a continuous process of production, Lampados was able to limit equipment and utensil washing to only one time per production cycle, while still ensuring maximum safety and purity. This saved a further 47 percent on water usage in the cleaning process.

The company is on a constant mission to seek out innovations in flavour and functionality.

 

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