Balanced Sweetness with Beneo

The ‘natural’ trend has seen significant growth year on year across Europe. It is no surprise then that since its clearance for use across Europe last year, Stevia has proved an increasingly popular choice as the only naturally derived high intensity sweetener amongst both food and confectionery manufacturers alike. Within two years Stevia, a plant used traditionally by Paraguay’s Guarani Indians, can now be found in products by food giants such as Coca-Cola and Danone. Dr. Thomas Walter, Head of Business Development at BENEO explains how the power of Stevia can be harnessed to maximise its natural origin, calorie-free potential in confectionery products.

Although up to 300 times sweeter than traditional beet or cane sugar and heralded as the “miracle sweetener”,
Stevia does require careful management due to its slightly bitter, liquorice-like aftertaste. As Marilise Marcantonio, communication director for Danone Fresh Products commented after the company had to re-work the recipe for
its Stevia yoghurts: “We are trying to find solutions to erase this liquorice taste but it’s not easy. Consumers are looking for natural products – but not at any price.”

In addition to the management of Stevia’s aftertaste challenges, the varying amounts of different steviol glycosides also make it difficult for food manufacturers to achieve consistent sweetness. If these issues of both taste and sweetness management can be overcome however, the nutritional benefits of Stevia make it a highly attractive naturally derived intense sweetener for both food and drink producers moving forwards.

This article is available in full in the Autumn 2012 issue of Nutraceuticals Now