Reducing sugar content in food and beverages to meet the demand of health-conscious consumers doesn't have to come at the cost of flavour or taste experience. Allulose is a low-calorie sweetener that maintains both the taste and texture consumers love.
What is allulose?
Allulose is a natural sugar replacement found in fruits, figs, etc. it is derived from corn or more specifically crystalline fructose. It is approximately 70% as sweet as sugar and has nearly zero calories — less than 10% of typical sugar. Additionally, the taste is similar to sugar with no bitterness or artificial flavour associated with it.
What is allulose used for?
Allulose is used to reduce sugar while maintaining both taste and texture. It adds bulk to food products while enhancing mouthfeel and taste in beverages. Unlike some other natural sweeteners, allulose browns when baked, giving it a similar experience to baking with sugar. In fact, allulose can effectively be used in both baked goods and frozen products.
Here are some of the major product categories that are a great fit for allulose:
- Fruit preps
- Ice creams and frozen desserts (provides freeze-point depression)
- Confectionery products like candies, gummies and chocolate
Additionally, when used with dairy, there's no unwanted crystallisation. Allulose is a well-rounded healthy alternative to traditional sugars used in food products.
How is allulose made?
Allulose is considered to be a rare sugar, meaning it is only found in very small quantities. So while it is present in a variety of dried fruits (as well as maple syrup and molasses), commercial producers must look elsewhere to scale this ingredient. Corn is processed to fructose and then to allulose.
Allulose is versatile and can be used across different types of formulations because the sweetness and functionality is close to sugar.
Allulose can be incorporated into doughs, fillings and batters at a maximum usage rate of 10% per dry basis. It helps to bind ingredients while improving both texture and structure. Plus, it helps with browning when the final product is baked, a characteristic that is often lacking in other sugar alternatives.
Allulose is easy to incorporate into delicious beverages, especially since you do not have to worry about the taste being overly sweet or bitter. Additionally, liquid allulose has a pleasing viscosity for mouthfeel and combines easily with other ingredients with no separation.
An ally of low sugar and dairy-free formulations, allulose adds a creamy with smooth scoopability, and helps avoid the hard crystals you often experience in low sugar ice creams. It incorporates into the base at a 5% maximum usage rate in frozen applications. Allulose helps to build back viscosity of the base, providing a familiar texture. Plus, this natural sweetener does not impact freezing point as other sugar alternatives tend to do.
What do consumers think of allulose?
The biggest hurdle in consumers' perception of allulose is simply that they are not yet familiar with it as an ingredient, and it is still pending regulatory approval in some regions. Once provided with a brief education on the characteristics of allulose, consumers tend to have a positive opinion in most instances. In a consumer study performed by Ingredion, 7% of survey respondents gave allulose an acceptable rating before learning anything about it. After being provided with a brief definition, that number jumped to 95%.
The two statements that most impacted consumer perception were:
"Contains low/no sugar"
"Good alternative to sugar"
Once these benefits were understood, consumers were more open to trying foods with allulose as a sugar substitute, with particular interest in energy drinks, light ice cream and nutritional beverages.
Benefits of allulose
There are a range of benefits that comes with using allulose, both from a manufacturing standpoint and from the consumer point of view.
Allulose does not appear as sugar or added sugar on nutrition labels.
Allulose adds moisture to food products so they don't dry out. It also prevents the formation of ice crystals when frozen, keeping foods intact.
Good for managing diabetes
Blood sugar and insulin levels are not impacted by allulose, making it a safe alternative for individuals with diabetes and other health conditions. In fact, some studies indicate that allulose can help lower blood sugar levels, decreasing overall health risk for people with Type 2 diabetes.
Better for oral health
Unlike table sugar, allulose isn't metabolised in the mouth. As a result, it doesn't erode tooth enamel or lead to cavities.
Allulose doesn't affect blood glucose, making it an increasingly popular ingredient for ketogenic dieters who eat minimal carbohydrates or sugar.
What is allulose made of?
Allulose is derived from corn fructose, although this sugar substitute can also be found in certain fruits in extremely small quantities.
One of the unique qualities of allulose is that it's a monosaccharide (or single-molecule product). That means allulose isn't actually digested — it passes straight through the body within 24 to 48 hours. This is why it's assigned virtually no calories on nutrition labels; it simply doesn't stay in the body long enough to turn into a carbohydrate.
Is allulose safe?
Allulose has achieved Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, status from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning it's been deemed safe for use in food products. It's also approved in other countries across the world, including Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Mexico.
Ready to improve the texture and flavor of your food while still tapping into the low sugar market? Allulose is a premium option that addresses many pitfalls traditionally found in formulations using sugar alternatives.
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