Caroline Chabot, Cargill marketing manager health and nutrition, told FoodManufacture.co.uk she anticipated many half-calorie variants would start to hit the market in 2014, given the current level of interest in its stevia-based solutions.
“They are not out yet in the market, but next year there will be quite some take-up; I’m sure bigger companies will launch and will really change the landscape of the stevia market,” she said, speaking at the Food Ingredients Europe 2013 trade show in Frankfurt.
Cargill had opened the floodgates with the introduction of proprietary taste technologies combining steviol glycosides and its C-Sweet high maltose syrup (HMS), Chabot claimed.
These formulations enabled manufacturers to overcome obstacles that had previously prevented them from going beyond 30% calorie reductions, she said.
For example, she asserted that they overcame the bitter, liquorice-like taste of previous low-calorie stevia blends and were more cost-effective than traditional mixtures of sugar and stevia leaf extract.
“People have done this before, but not with the sort of taste we have this time around. HMS masks the aftertaste, optimises costs by up to 20% and reduces calories by up to 50%. We are the only one to propose this combination of steviol glycosides and HMS.”
She said HMS could be flagged up on packs as glucose syrup, so there was no need for manufacturers to change labelling if they switched between the two.
Cargill has developed an iced tea prototype containing half the calories of standard versions using its latest sweetener blends.
More companies would follow
Coca-Cola had already launched Coca-Cola Life in Argentina containing 50% fewer calories than its full-sugar equivalent, using Cargill’s Truvia sweetener, and the indications were more companies would follow, said Chabot.
Cargill’s low-calorie stevia solutions could also be used to drive down calories in chocolate milk, she claimed.
Standard 200ml versions of chocolate milk products aimed at children contained about 30% of their daily intake of sugars, but Cargill’s prototypes had gone further, she added. “We are demonstrating only 10%.”
Reducing the sugar content in the chocolate milk and increasing the levels of its sweetener blends made it necessary to boost product stability and Cargill was using carrageenan to do this, she said.