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.
|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.
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:
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.