Health and taste from fruit-based sweeteners

Refined sugar is linked to a variety of negative health outcomes, including, according to the UK’s National Health Service, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Thus, many producers have tried to replace it with various different types of sweeteners, with mixed success.

Fruit forms the basis of many of these sweeteners. Ranging from monk fruit to citrus to carob, fruit has been used for sweetness in Europe for centuries, dating long before the colonisation of the Americas. Now, as then, they can often enhance taste very effectively.

Sweetness

Fruit forms the basis for a wide range of sweeteners. For example, ingredients company Kerry develops citrus extract, which can be used in a wide range of products including baked goods, beverages, and dairy products.

Tate & Lyle also develops a fruit-based sweetener, in this case monk fruit extract.  The sweetener, which can be used in a range of products including fruit juices, flavoured water, smoothies, yogurt, juice drinks, breakfast cereals and fruit snacks, “can decrease bitterness and off-flavours and enhance milk chocolate flavour​,” Abigail Storms, Tate & Lyle’s SVP Global Sweeteners and Fibres, told FoodNavigator. It is also, according to Storms, 200 times the sweetness of sugar.

In terms of health benefits, Storms told us, “monk fruit doesn’t raise blood sugar levels and is a helpful sugar alternative for those with type-1 and type-2 diabetes​.”

Another versatile fruit-based sweetener is one from Israeli startup Carobway, which uses, as its name suggests, carob as its basis. The product is included in a range of products including bakery, confectionary and energy bars.