The approval, which follows a safety evaluation of the branded Xtend ingredient, comes a year after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the go-ahead for its use in foods in the United States.
Cargill said Xtend sucromalt is a “one-of-a-kind” sweetener as it delivers balanced energy, does not spike insulin levels and is has a low glycemic index.
The ingredient is a full-calorie natural sweetener syrup made from sucrose and maltose. In the US, Cargill positions the sweetener as a low-glycemic alternative to sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), for “consumers who desire to manage their energy and blood glucose levels.”
Clean taste and binding nature
Cargill, which says it is the only company that produces sucromalt, describes its ingredient as having a “slowly digestible carbohydrate” with a “clean, sweet taste”, which is 60 to 70 per cent as sweet as sugar.
The sweetener’s physical properties in food processing are said to be similar to corn syrup.
“In some applications, Xtendsucromalt can enable label simplification by reducing or eliminating the use of some starch and sweetener ingredients. Its binding nature works similarly to corn syrup, yet offers balanced blood glucose levels,” says the firm.
Novel Foods approval means that it can be used in a variety of products sold in Europe, including beverages, cereal, soft chews and confections, yoghurt, ice cream, nutrition bars, and meal replacement bars.
In the US, the ingredient was self-affirmed as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) in 2004. Last year, it received extra backing when the US FDA issued a letter of non-objection to the GRAS status.
In the States, Cargill claims that only half of the calories from sucromalt need to be listed on nutritional labels as sugar, raising its appeal for manufacturers that want to achieve healthier formulations through sugar reduction.
Because it is a syrup, Cargill also said that its sucromalt would appeal to manufacturers that are familiar with HFCS, which recently suffered from a mass of bad publicity in the country, leading many companies to consider cutting the sweetener.