Sweet solutions drive the carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) industry

CSD industryThere is considerable pressure on the global market for carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) to respond to growing health issues surrounding high sugar intake.

Food manufacturers are acutely aware of imminent pricing challenges associated with high sugar products. The clock is ticking to create great tasting carbonated soft drinks that are also low in sugar.

The stevia market on the African continent continues to grow at phenomenal speed. Product launches are on track to double year-on-year (2015 to 2016 full year estimate) according to industry reports.

PureCircle is one of the leading producers of stevia innovation. The company also advises many leading and global carbonated soft drinks brands on how to create great tasting and better for you products to match growing demand for healthier choices.

John Martin, PureCircle’s global director of technical development and innovation, explains, ‘Stevia is definitely part of the solution when creating reduced sugar products without sacrificing taste. It’s by no means as straightforward as it sounds however. As you try to achieve significant reductions in F&B products, there’s a range of formulation challenges facing developers. With stevia you are working with limited tools to achieve the high sweetness maximum required for some formulations. When using stevia at high levels, combinations of glycosides may be needed to deliver the sweetness quality needed for that clean, sugar-like taste.

‘Our Sigma family of stevia ingredients is made with a combination of different glycosides. Each ingredient is category specific and delivers superior taste profiles, deeper calorie reductions, and reduced development time. Sigma B is our newest member of the Sigma family, created to address sugar reduction in beverages, particularly Carbonated soft drinks, whilst ensuring speed-to-market. ‘We have a very strong technical team that works with our beverage customers on a customisable formulation approach.

F&B technologists and formulators can now pull the correct information from PureCircle’s portfolio to select the right ingredients in ratios customised for their intended product. Our experience to date is that we get the best results and the most breakthrough solutions when working side-by-side, in close partnership with developers,’ Martin explains.

Nicky Plumpton, Pure Circle’s senior technical manager of the EMEA region, adds her thoughts on cola products. ‘Cola is particularly challenging due to the complexity of its flavour. All colas are quite different, with vanilla, spicy and citrusy flavour notes present. Generally, colas are the only beverage that uses phosphoric acid, to provide acidity and control pH. This helps contribute to its unique taste profile.

‘The main challenge is optimising the sweetness profile while maintaining the flavour attributes of a full sugar product. From a stability perspective, some traditional high-intensity sweeteners like aspartame can degrade at low pH. Stevia demonstrates improved stability in those acid environments,’ she concludes.