Cargill is entering the sweeteners market in Europe with its Ascend brand of corn-starch sugar, trehalose.
The US ingredients giant, which already has exclusive rights to sell Ascend trehalose in North, South and Central America, claims it will be the sole distributor of trehalose to European food manufacturers.
The sweetener is produced using large-scale, cost-efficient technology designed by Japan's Hayashibara Co, a specialist in starch-based sweeteners.
Trehalose is said to deliver a lower insulin response than other sugar-and corn-based sweeteners, according to Cargill. This means it is digested and absorbed at a slower, more sustained rate than other sugars, making it ideal for active people and targeted for use in sports nutrition products. It stabilises proteins and has a clean, mildly sweet flavour, claims the Minnesota-based firm, the largest supplier of corn-based sweeteners in the US.
Ted Ziemann, president of Cargill's Health & Food Technologies division said the agreement gives the firm greater geographic presence and better service to international customers.
Cargill is aiming to position itself as a leading supplier of branded health ingredients, offering food and drink manufacturers added value. Its development potential has been significantly boosted by recent approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for use of a heart health claim for phytosterols. A number of functional food prototypes, containing its health ingredients, will be on display at the IFT this weekend, including a tea with bone-health properties, Bone Appetit.