“Palatinose has been around for years, but its time has come. More and more health conscious consumers are becoming aware that managing blood sugar is important for energy and health,” Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business, told us.
Palatinose (generic name isomaltulose), is a disaccharide carbohydrate produced via enzymatic rearrangement from sucrose. Beneo, which holds the patent for the sweetener, says that Palatinose’s ability to provide energy of 4 kcal per gram in a more steady and sustained way gives it an advantage over other carbohydrates.
This benefit is said to be due to Palatinose’s “unique glucose-fructose binding”, which causes energy to be released more gradually, resulting in lower blood sugar peaks.
Star ingredient in new sports drink
The profile of the sweetener has been boosted this month with the launch of STATE, a Danish sports drink fronted by Premier League football player Christian Eriksen, who plays for north London club, Tottenham Hotspurs.
The core proposition of the product is “combining a high and lasting energy level with a stable blood glucose level and mental balance throughout performances” and the key ingredient underpinning this concept is Palatinose.
Promotional messaging for the drink states that “in addition to caffeine, taurine and niacin, STATE contains the B-vitamins B6 and B12, which contribute to reducing fatigue and exhaustion, and Palatinose/Isomaltulose (3%), which induces a lower blood glucose rise after consumption compared to sugar-containing foods/drinks”.
STATE: sink or swim?
As a concept, Mellentin thinks STATE has legs.
“The time is right for marketing a drink on a blood sugar management platform. It probably won’t be a mass market product, but it is a proposition that will be attractive to sports people who don’t want a lag in performance and want to recover quickly.
"And with heath conscious consumers becoming more interested in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, this is the sort of benefit that increasingly makes sense,” he said.
Mellentin said brands like belVita breakfast biscuits had paved the way for blood sugar management products such as STATE.
“They [belVita] have helped build awareness of the concept of slow energy release among the population at large,” he noted.
With the foundations laid, and STATE Drinks ostensibly doing “all the right things” - by engaging a brand ambassador and credible academic for example - Mellentin said the drink had every chance of success.
However, he added the caveat that “the fact remains that the energy drink market is fragmented and there is lots of competition”.