PureCircle’s Global Director Of Technical Development & Innovation Shares His Tips For Formulating With Stevia

by Rachel Quenzer | March 31, 2016 | Formulation Tips SHARE: 

IMG_4417 - John Martin SMALLAs consumers’ desires to find more low to no calorie solutions grows, we are often asked how stevia can be part of the solution without sacrificing taste. Learn from John Martin, PureCircle’s Global Director of Technical Development and Innovation, about his tips and tricks and how he uses different stevia ingredients from sweeteners to flavors to other complementary ingredients.

1. When using stevia to get to zero calorie solutions, what are some of the challenges you find in formulating?

Most critical to be able to achieve zero calorie solutions with stevia is delivering high sweetness potential as well as sweetness quality. As you try to achieve significant reductions in food and beverage products, there are a range of formulation challenges facing developers. Specifically with stevia, there are limited tools that are able to achieve the high sweetness max required for some formulations. Furthermore, when using stevia at high levels, combinations of glycosides may be needed to deliver the sweetness quality needed for that clean, sugar-like taste.

2. How does this change based on different product categories?

Each food category has unique challenges as you look to get to low to zero calorie using stevia. For example, CSD products typically have a very high levels of sweetness and therefore need stevia ingredients that deliver that higher sweetness max. Dairy products, on the other hand, often creates a challenge with delayed sweetness impact as well as impact on mouthfeel. Coffee is naturally bitter and stevia can enhance unwanted bitterness linger. Knowing these impacts allow us to proactively address these challenges and the good news is that after years of development experience and research, we have found solutions that work for formulators.

3. What products does PureCircle use to address these challenges?

We recently launched our Zeta family of stevia sweeteners which are made with steviol glycosides with the most sugar-like taste, and provide the most sugar-like taste profile on the market for low-to-zero calorie products. The Zeta family of ingredients deliver that clean, sweet taste, without bitterness or linger in low to zero calorie food and beverages.

In addition, our Sigma family of ingredients is mad with combinations of glycosides that directly address category-specific challenges. Each ingredient is category-specific and deliver superior taste profiles, deeper calorie reductions, and reduced development time. For example, sensory research and testing indicates parity performance to sugar when using Sigma-Dairy in No Sugar Added yogurt formulations.

Another tip to try is leveraging stevia-based flavors. They are very effective in restoring sweetness quality you lose in low to no calorie applications and can deliver taste synergies when used in combination with stevia sweeteners.

Finally, we have a very strong technical team that is able to work with customers on a customizable formulation approach that brings together our innovative proprietary portfolio, and expertise in identifying the right stevia ingredient, or combination, to deliver the optimal solution for any formulation need. This allows formulators to pull from PureCircle’s portfolio in order to select the right ingredients in ratios customized for their specific formulations. Our experience has been that we get the best results and the most breakthrough solutions when working side-by-side, in close partnership with developers.

4. Regionally, what challenges do you find when trying to formulate to zero? Do you run into regulation hurdles and/or taste preference hurdles?

While stevia is approved in every major market in the world, each region differs on which glycosides are approved, at what levels, and for which applications. In addition, these regulations continue to evolve with new options continuing to become available. Keeping abreast of the ever changing regulatory landscape on stevia is key and we have a dedicated Regulatory Team that can partner with formulators to understand the available options in any given market.

In formulating to zero, significant usage levels of stevia is required.  Selecting the most appropriate glycosides for the correct application is key to delivering optimized taste performance. Most taste considerations can be solved using the appropriate combination of glycosides.