As sweet protein products rise in popularity, more flavor innovators are looking to develop products to create better-for-you food products.

Ingredients in Focus: Sweegen launches flavor tool to compete with sugar

Courtesy of Sweegen

Sweegen — a global sweetness and flavor innovator — is the latest company to develop sweet protein technology and create a sugar-like experience in food products. 

Sweetensify Flavors uses novel-sweet protein technology that includes brazzein, thaumatin II, and other unique proteins to “ target taste receptors on a biochemistry level,” the company said. 

Brazzein is a protein found in the oubli, a fruit native to West Africa which is being used by an increasing number of companies as better-for-you alternatives to sugar rise in popularity. 

Sweet proteins are a class of proteins that have sugar-like sweetness, but don’t affect blood sugar in the same way traditional sugar does, as the ingredients are synthesized as a protein by the body. 

“Sweet proteins like brazzein have an affinity for different taste receptors on the tongue, especially the receptor known as T1R3, which is associated with both umami and sweetness perception,” the company said. 

Oobli, a global sweet protein platform, was the first company to be granted approval for the use of its brazzein product as a food ingredient. The company’s name was inspired by the West African fruit. 

In addition to brazzein, Sweegen is also using thaumatin II, which received a Generally Recognized as Safe status at the time of the launch from the FDA. 

“Our regulatory vision is to open global markets and enable brands to access unique ingredients that will support their food and beverage creativity while delivering on health and wellness,” said Hadi Omrani, senior director of technical and regulatory affairs at Sweegen.

With its Sweetensify Flavors product, Sweegen plans to enable product developers to reduce the amount of sugar they use in products while maintaining the quality of characteristic flavors and sweetness.

At the time of its launch, Sweegen blind taste tested two identical lemon lime soda flavors. One using sugar and the other using its sweet protein product. The results showed no significant difference between taste or aroma, the company said. 

Healthcare professionals and nutritionist experts have started recommending sweet proteins over sugar.

Global demand for sweet proteins is projected to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 8.1% and by 2033, the total market valuation is anticipated to reach US$ 19.7 billion, according to data from Future Market Insights.

In order to produce its brazzein and thaumatin II products sustainably, Sweegen uses a proprietary precision fermentation process with its innovation and strategic partner Conagen — a synthetic biology manufacturing company. 

Sweegen’s Sweetensify Flavor products are currently available for use in countries that allow flavors approved by the GRAS protocol.

  • Low-sugar chocolate trailblazer receives ‘no questions’ FDA letter for its star ingredient By Elizabeth Flood • March 20, 2024
  • Oobli’s low-sugar chocolates hint at promise of sweet protein alternatives By Chris Casey • Jan. 29, 2024
  • Sweegen to bring brazzein to market through synthetic biology By Megan Poinski • Jan. 6, 2022

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