Mars link-up with University of California, Davis, primes for allulose sugar alternative breakthrough

Mars has confirmed a breakthrough collaboration with the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), in creating a cost-effective means of producing sugar alternative, allulose, enabling bulk production for markets including for confectionery, reports Neill Barston.

As the global business stated, the ingredient may not be a new one, but it has to-date proved expensive to deliver (by a factor of around five), making it prohibitively pricey in many instances, but thanks to the company’s latest joint venture, this is set to change imminently.

The firm’s food scientists have worked on revised formulas for allulose, which has been scarce in supply chains, yet has been found to closely mimic the taste and texture of conventional sugar. However, as the business observed,  it has a mere 0.4 calories per gram, compared to sugar’s four calories per gram. This makes it a promising choice for those looking to cut back on sugar without sacrificing sweetness.

“It’s always exciting to see scientific discovery come to fruition, particularly when it has the potential to provide scalable alternatives for the food industry,” says Janet Dawson, Vice President Global Science and Technology at Mars Snacking. “This new development could enable us to cut out the numerous, costly steps required in the traditional enzymatic conversion processing, allowing for the creation of a lower-calorie, commercially viable sugar alternative.”

Explaining its functions, the company revealed that unlike regular sugar, allulose doesn’t impact blood glucose or insulin levels. It has zero glycemic impact, making it suitable for diabetics and those on low-carb diets. It’s well-tolerated, ensuring you can enjoy the sweet taste without any unpleasant side effects.

As Mars noted, the key to its breakthrough is in a new method that bypasses the numerous (and costly) steps required in the traditional production process. The outcome is a healthier, lower-calorie, commercially viable sugar alternative that has piqued the interest of both the food industry and consumers. It has broad potential use across confectionery and bakery ranges.

Joel Harris, Senior Director of Science Commercialisation for Science & Technology at Mars, believed its latest development would have a major impact on the industry. He said: “This is yet another great scientific discovery brought to life through the collaboration between UC Davis and Mars,”

“This method will allow the industry to be future-ready to source the best ingredients in an eco-efficient and smart manner, and to explore options for a lower-calorie sugar replacement — for broader usage by the food industry.”

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