Patent Watch

Tate & Lyle seeks patent for reduced sugar corn syrup soft gums and caramels

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Caramel and soft gum manufacturers could cut sugar with a new type of corn syrup, says Tate & Lyle
Caramel and soft gum manufacturers could cut sugar with a new type of corn syrup, says Tate & Lyle

Related tags Sugar Glucose Fructose Tate & lyle

Ingredients supplier Tate & Lyle has filed a patent for a method to produce low sugar content soft gums and caramel using reduced sugar corn syrup.

Tate & Lyle recently developed a reduced sugar corn syrup (RSCS) derived from corn that has reduced levels of mono- and disaccharides compared to conventional corn syrups.

The company first struggled to achieve the same level of sweetness and flavor profile with RSCS in caramel, but claim to have solved the problem by adding fructose. 

Tate & Lyle’s patent also claims that using RSCS instead of conventional corn syrup in soft gums significantly reduces drying times, helping manufacturers save money.

“It is envisaged that the present invention will have broad application in the production of confectionaries that traditionally are formulated with high levels of sugar, such as caramels, chewy confectionaries, jelly gum confectionaries and the like,”​ said the firm.

Caramels with RSCS

Caramel can be prepared using a mixture of sucrose and a conventional corn syrup. Since RSCS has lower sugar levels than conventional corn syrup, a like-for-like replacement in caramels produces a less sweet product that is also excessively hard, said Tate & Lyle in its patent application.

The company said it has found a way to match RSCS to conventional corn syrup in caramels by adding fructose.

“We have now found that this can be achieved by partially replacing the sucrose (a non-reducing disaccharide) in the caramel formulation with a reducing saccharide such as fructose,” ​said the patent application.

Tate & Lyle said that this solved flavor development issues and also imparted the extra sweetness.

Soft gums: Significantly shorter drying times

soft gumies gum smallest

The supplier is also hoping to gain patent protection for RSCS in soft gums.

Soft gums such as gum drops or fruit-flavored slices typically use a mixture of conventional corn syrup and sucrose to provide sweetness and bulk. A cooked soft gum mixture is placed in molds and left to dry to achieve gel strength.

“This drying step, using traditional ingredients, takes an extended period of time (i .e., about two days) before the confectionaries attain a degree of firmness, gel strength and dimensional stability that allows them to be demolded and then subjected to further processing,” ​said Tate & Lyle.

The firm said substituting reduced sugar corn syrup (RSCS) for all or a part of the conventional corn syrup component of a jelly gum confectionary formulation “significantly shortened”​ drying times.

The patent said the finding “…permits confectionary manufacturers to decrease cycle times, increase productivity, and reduce costs, with the final product having the additional advantage of being lower in sugar content than a conventional jelly gum confectionary…”

The extent of the sugar reduction depends on the formula, but Tate & Lyle said it could be about 25-50% by weight.

Cargill said in its 2013 Annual Report that it had developed its own reduced sugar corn syrup, designed for fruit snacks and cereal bars.

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