Sugar awareness is key for food recipes, mainly when that includes structure and functionality, so you can be able to select the right sweetener that gives the most significant look and feel to a product. At NCMP, we appreciate sugar and other natural sweeteners because they enhance the taste and pleasure of a wide variety of nutritious foods, and are a necessary and easily recognized element of corn syrup.
Sugar is a class of carbohydrates found naturally in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and grains. Some of the most popular types of sugar are Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose. They are different types of sweeteners that differ in their chemical structure; however, they contain the same number of calories gram for gram.
Sucrose is often perceived as the scientific name for table sugar. It is mainly added to several processed foods such as candy, ice cream, breakfast cereals, canned foods, soda, and other sweetened beverages.
Fructose is recognized as fruit sugar, the sweetest of all simple sugars. It is mainly added to processed foods in the form of high-Fructose corn syrup in which contains more Fructose than Glucose.
Glucose is a single unit of sugar that cannot be broken down into simpler compounds; however, it can easily bound to other pure sugar such as Sucrose and Lactose. Glucose is less sugary than Fructose and Sucrose and is added to processed foods in several forms.
Sugars are categorized into three groups: Monosaccharides (1 unit), Disaccharides (2 units), and Polysaccharides (>10 units). The following chart can briefly present the sugar structure:
According to a recent study done by IMARC Group, the global sugar substitute market reached a value of US$ 15.7 Billion in 2019. The market is expected to reach US$ 19.8 Billion by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 3.8% during 2020-2025. The research also states that artificial sugar substitutes hold the largest market share as they are widely used across the globe.
Common Reducing Sugars for Browning Foods
Caramelization is a form of non-enzymatic browning that occurs as a reaction when sugars in food are heated – or as a result of the Maillard reaction which is a chemical reaction between an amino acid and a reducing sugar – both are common processes found in foods. This process is the basis of the flavoring industry as countless of various flavor and color compounds are produced and used to create artificial flavors that are mainly desired in the bakery industry, and not beverages.
The most popular reducing sugars for browning are Glucose, Fructose, Maltose, and Lactose. Fructose is the sweetest of the natural sugars and is produced commercially as a sweetener that enhances color more than Maltose. Sucrose, on the other hand, is not a reducing sugar; however, transforming Sucrose to Fructose and Glucose performs the Maillard reaction, which creates reduced sugars. In short, by controlling the sugar profile, final reactions can be predicted.
Effect of Water Activity on Shelf Life
Water activity is the essential factor in predicting and controlling the shelf life, safety, texture, and flavor of food products. Measuring and controlling the water activity helps us to:
1- Predict which microorganisms are vulnerable to spoilage and infection
2- Sustain the chemical stability of foods
3- Reduce non-enzymatic browning reactions
4- Control enzymes’ activities
5- Sustain nutrients and vitamins in food
6- Optimize the physical properties of foods
Moreover, sweeteners have the full ability to lower the water activity in a product to formulate stable foods, especially with bakery and pastry recipes.
Look and Feel: The Impact of Viscosity
The viscosity of a sweetener has a substantial impact on a product’s manufacturing characteristics, texture, and mouth-feel that could also determine product
cohesiveness. Viscosity during and after processing a product is a crucial factor in food processing.
The Chemical Breakdown of Sugar Substitutes
Fermentable sugars are broken down by microorganisms like Glucose before being utilized by the yeast. The bakery industry prefers sugar fermentation as the gases created during the process causes the dough to rise, and gives a bubbly feel in beverages.
Sweeteners have numerous functions to alter and enhance your recipe, whether it is freeze point depression, osmotic pressure, crystal inhibition, texture, shelf-life, or in the ice cream sector.
Our role is to make your life sweeter
NCMP’s technical team are experts in chemical combinations and ingredient solutions. We can define the best functional properties based on your needs and also promote and layout a framework to put your brand on the right track. We are available around the clock to support you with any query you might have.