BOTANICAL INNOVATIONS FEATURED CELEBRATING AUSTRALIAN FOOD AND AGRIBUSINESS INNOVATIONS BOOK, FIAL 2018 APPLE EXTRACT SWEETENER
Research has shown there is a direct link between high consumption of sugary products and weight-related chronic health problems including an increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This has led the World Health Organisation to advocate for all countries to adopt a sugar tax similar to Mexico and the United Kingdom. Botanical Innovations saw an opportunity in the growing requirement to reduce sugar in food products. They set out to create a fruit-based natural sweetener that has the ability to function like sugar in every day foods and beverages. The biggest technical challenge was to make the product function like a bulk sweetener without compromising on taste, mouthfeel and texture. Also critical to the project’s success was ensuring the product could be competitively priced to attract broad application and uptake of the product.
Botanical Innovations started by researching the advantages and disadvantages of sweeteners currently available. They collaborated with industry and research partners including Southern Cross University to develop prototypes and conduct trials. The initial prototypes manufactured were extremely energy intensive, which had a negative impact on the price. Further development was required to identify a process that used less energy and water. After 18 months, the team successfully created a pure fruit extract made from 100 per cent Australian Apple. Apple Extract Flavour and Sweetener is a new fruit-based alternative to sweeteners and sugars suitable for a variety of food and beverage applications including ice cream, sauces, ready meals, confectionary, baked goods, snacks, soft drinks and dairy products. Its ability to function effectively in both hot and cold food and beverage manufacturing makes it a valuable alternative to sugar and high intensity sweeteners.
The key driver behind the invention was consumer and regulatory demand for alternatives to sugar with more than 30 countries implementing sugar taxes to reduce sugar consumption. This demand is translating into sales growth for Botanical Innovations Apple Extract Sweetener as food and beverage manufacturers look for alternatives to sugar that are able a maintain a products existing flavour with a reduced sugar content. It has created new opportunities for manufacturers seeking clean Australian and international sugar free labels. Apple Extract Sweetener won the Ingredient Innovation Award at the Food & Beverage Industry Awards in 2017 and is opening new domestic and international market opportunities for Botanical Innovations. The company is passionate about create new functional taste sensations that improve health and the new knowledge and skills acquired through this project provides exciting opportunities for the company in the future.
Source: Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations, FIAL 2017 Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Industry Growth Centres