Tate and Lyle has announced the launch of Meritab - a new direct compressible dextrose that can be used in confectionary, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications.
The dextrose, made using a proprietary agglomeration process at Aalst in Belgium, will reportedly bring significant functional benefits and cost efficiency to the European tablet industry.
"Tablets are generally produced using either traditional wet granulation or direct compression," explained Kristien Gerits, product manager at Tate and Lyle's European food ingredients team.
"Wet granulation is a multi-stage process, which is cost intensive, time consuming and requires a large investment in capital equipment. Meritab compressible dextrose allows tablet manufacturers to stop using wet granulation processes, and so offers a cost effective and simplified production process."
A spokesperson for Tate and Lyle told FoodNavigator that Meritab was cheaper by comparison because it makes the tabletting process easier, there are fewer process steps required which increases process efficiency.
However the actual savings that using the direct compressible dextrose could bring depends on the individual process parameters, they said.
Tate and Lyle said that the compressible dextrose will enable manufacturers to produce consistently high quality tablets with a smooth surface and reduced breakage - this could lead to increased efficiency in ingredient usage and delivering cost savings.
"We applied in-house tabletting technology to evaluate the Meritab powder functionality in comparison to other tablet ingredients. Our findings showed that Meritab provided harder and more consistent tablets in comparison to other ingredients used for direct compression," said Gerits.
The company states that it has excellent flow properties, ensuring regular machine feeding and low tablet weight variation. Compared to standard tabletting ingredients, Meritab is said to require less machine pressure to yield similar tablet hardness. This, said Tate and Lyle, reduces press downtime and increases machine longevity.
Applications include chewable and hard confectionery and medication, and because the dextrose provides improved mixing properties, uniform blending with colours, flavours or other ingredients is easy, said Tate and Lyle.
The taste is said to be "clean and cool", making it very interesting for both confectionery and nutraceuticals alike.
"It can help to mask bitter notes of other ingredients often associated with vitamins, plant extracts, minerals, active pharmaceutical ingredients and some high intensity sweeteners," said the company.
The company also announced the launch of two improved sieved grades of dextrose, Meritose 220 (medium) and 300 (coarse), for use across a wide range of applications, including confectionary, spices and seasoning, sports drinks and baby foods.
"Sieved dextrose is increasingly preferred by customers as it is easier to handle and performs better in many applications. Sieved dextrose does not tend to lump and has reduced dusting, better dispersion and less demixing," said Gerits.
Both new grades are said to deliver all these enhanced characteristics.