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How to enhance flavor and save costs with crystalline fructose Listen with ReadSpeaker

Crystalline fructose is a naturally occurring sweetening substance found in fruits, vegetables and honey. It is sweeter than normal sugar, low in glycemic index, slow blood glucose response and slow release of insulin.

Commercially, crystalline fructose is made from corn or sugarcane through enzymatic, purification and crystallization processes. It is widely used as a nutritive sweetener in food and beverage due to its functional properties and health benefits. Depending on the temperature at which the products are being consumed, crystalline fructose is the sweetest naturally occurring sugar of around 1.4 to 1.8 times when compared to sucrose.

Properties Benefits
Higher sweetness intensity to sucrose (up to 80%) Requires less amount to reach the same sweetness of sucrose for sugar and calorie reduction products
Low glycemic index (GI 19) is the lowest among natural sweeteners Low impact on insulin and blood glucose level. An effective weight management alternative for healthy food
Satiety effect Slow energy release, prevents hunger feeling and promotes a reduction in calorie consumption
Thermogenic effect Uses more energy to metabolize fructose versus glucose
High solubility High concentration sweetening without crystallization risk
Low freezing point Prevents the formation of ice crystals and maintains the smooth creamy texture of frozen desserts
High water binding capacity Improves moisture retention and freshness of baked goods
Low water activity Less impact on microbial growth during shelf life
Browning reaction Enhances brown crust and aroma of baked goods
Faster starch set time Reduces gelatinization temperature and cooking time
Enhance flavor Improves the taste and flavor profile of food and beverage
Mask bitterness and aftertaste of intensity sweeteners Improves taste profile for sugar-reduction products

Human taste buds on the tongue perceive the sweet taste from fructose at the initial stage before glucose, dextrose or sucrose. Crystalline fructose offers a fast sweetness onset and clean finish. Its unique taste character allows fructose for flavor enhancing and boosting of fruits, chocolate, coffee, caramel, cinnamon, vanilla and other flavor notes.

Crystalline fructose also helps balance the sweetness profile and mask the aftertaste of some natural-origin and high-potency sweeteners such as stevia, sucralose and acesulfame-K.

Enhances food flavoring

Figure 1: Sweetness profile of crystalline fructose, dextrose and sucrose

Combining crystalline fructose and sucrose provides synergy to sucrose of both flavor and sweet taste. The sensory evaluation in Figure 1 showed that the combination of fructose and sucrose (ratio 1:2) helps intensify and prolong both sweetness and flavor of food and beverages.

Similarly, the sensory evaluation of chocolate milk in Figure 2 showed the following results with a significant difference:

  • The combination of fructose and sucrose offered the sweetest flavor compared to sucrose. No significant differences in after-taste sweetness
  • The combination of fructose and sucrose as well as fructose alone provided more chocolate flavor and chocolate aftertaste compared to sucrose alone
  • The combination of fructose and sucrose had the highest body and mouthfeel probably due to the impact of boosted flavor to overall perception of cocoa powder, stabilizers and emulsifiers in chocolate milk
Enhances food flavoring

Figure 2: Sensory profiling of chocolate milk

The results of sensory evaluations for fruit-flavored milk and drink are in a similar direction and showed the synergy between fructose and sucrose of both flavor and sweet taste. However, the perception of sweetness, flavor and aftertaste varied in different flavors, formulations and products.

Food flavors are commonly used by the food and beverage industry to adjust flavor profile as well as new product developments and act as important additives for the industry.

The food flavors market size was valued at over USD 14 billion in 2019 and is expected to exceed USD 17 billion by 2027. However, flavors are considered as expensive ingredients and have a high cost per kilogram. Thus, manufacturers are looking to increase the intensity and reduce the dosage of flavors to save costs.

Typically, crystalline fructose has a higher cost per kilogram than sucrose and fructose syrup that can be produced locally in many countries in Asia. The importers need to pay high import duty for crystalline fructose because of trade barriers to the local sugar business.

However, crystalline fructose has excellent flavor-enhancing properties to many types of flavors in both sweet and savory areas such as fruits flavor, chocolate, coffee, dairy and savory flavors over fructose syrup and sucrose.

Applying crystalline fructose together with sucrose (ratio 1:2) helps boost flavor intensity and profile. This allows the manufacturers to reduce flavor dosage by ten to 30 percent and achieve a cost-saving of at least 15 percent, depending on different flavors and cost per kilogram.

Key functions of crystalline fructose:

• Flavor enhancing property of crystalline fructose helps boost flavor intensity and profile when combining crystalline fructose and sucrose (ratio 1:2)
Selling points and opportunities:

• Reduction of flavor dosage around 10 to 30% depending on different flavors
• Flavor cost-saving for food and beverage manufacturers

• High cost per kilogram of crystalline fructose versus fructose syrup or sucrose
• Crystalline fructose typically is higher priced and has a higher import tax due to trade barriers compared to fructose syrup and sucrose

• Different flavors and applications provide different results
• The result in some formulations, especially cost reduction formulations, may not be significant

The flavor enhancing capability of crystalline fructose brings huge benefits and business opportunities for food manufacturers. Although it is higher priced compared to other similar ingredients, crystalline fructose offers vital cost savings especially for food and beverage manufacturers looking to develop new products, improve food flavor and quality.

Get in touch with us if you have further insights on the use of crystalline fructose in your business.