Milk formulation for Tate and Lyle's sweetener

Related tags Sucralose

A US firm is to use the zero calorie sweetener sucralose for a new
chocolate drink - further evidence that opportunities continue to
grow for the sweetener produced by UK ingredient supplier Tate
& Lyle.

Foremost Farms USA said it will launch a new chocolate milk sweetened with Tate's artificial sweetener - Splenda - under the Morning Glory, GG Golden Guernsey Dairy, and Grip It. Sip It. brands.

According to a report in Wisconsin Ag Connection​, Joe Weis at Foremost Farms said the move was in response to consumer demand for low calorie, calcium-rich products.

"Chocolate milk is the number one selling flavoured milk so it makes sense to provide a low-fat, no sugar added alternative to address consumer's needs,"​ he said.

Sucralose, 600 times sweeter than sugar and developed jointly by US firm McNeil Specialty Products and Tate & Lyle, has a longer shelf life than its synthetic predecessors, which deteriorate chemically over time. This has positive implications for retailers who do not have to worry about the product going bad.

The engineered ingredient is heat-stable with three of its hydroxyl groups replaced with chlorine, resulting in a 0-cal/gram sweetener that is not digested. Myth would have it that British sugar company Tate & Lyle, looking for ways to use sucrose as a chemical intermediate, was synthesising and testing halogenated sugars. A student, Shashikant Phadnis, misunderstood a request for "testing" of a chlorinated sugar as a request for "tasting," leading to the discovery in 1976 that many chlorinated sugars are sweet with potencies some hundreds or thousands of times as great as sucrose.

The market for the ingredient opened up earlier this year when long-awaited rules on the use of the sweetener entered into European law permitting the use of sucralose (E955) throughout the EU25.

As well as providing harmonisation for the movement of sucralose between European member states, the rules opened up new sales routes for suppliers of the sweetener in a market holding considerable potential as rising health concerns, notably the rising tide of obesity, continues to drive consumers towards sugar-free products.

A 2002 report from market analysts Mintel claims that while there is robust growth within the new sucralose-based artificial sweeteners, sales are not yet of sufficient size to affect overall industry trends. Retail sales of sugar and artificial sweeteners in the US were weak between 1997 and 2002, with industry sales decreasing from $2.7 billion to $2.5 billion. In 2000, however, the rate of contraction in sales slowed. Mintel estimates 2002 year end sales to be nearly unchanged from 2001.

But according to the Calorie Control Council, the market is very much present for low-cal table top sweeteners and ingredients with recent research showing that more than 163 million adult Americans consume low-calorie, sugar-free foods and beverages.

Tate & Lyle became the sole manufacturer of Splenda earlier this year after reaching an agreement with its US partner McNeil Nutritionals. The British group is also responsible for the worldwide sales of Splenda to food and beverage manufacturers, while McNeil covers the retail and foodservice sales of the brand.

Last month the British sugar and starches group said it would expand production of the sweetener at its plant in the US to meet increased demand for its Splenda brand.

Related topics R&D