With the consumer backlash against refined sugars and the debate over whether stevia leaf sweeteners are really natural, along with the trend to raw and minimally processed ingredients, organic and natural sweeteners are seeing growing demand.
One company that is benefiting from this trend is Belgian-based certified organic sweetener producer Sipal Partners, which is seeing more companies in the organic and natural foods and beverages market switching to it for cleaner and less processed natural sweeteners.
“Indeed, the demand for our natural sweeteners is increasing very much,” said Sipal Partners sales & marketing manager Benedicte Meurens. “Thanks to our natural process production, we are able to offer a cleaner labeling such as ‘cereal syrup’ or ‘fruit syrup’, instead of ‘sugar’ or ‘glucose syrup’.
“We are using a non-refining process (no ion exchangers). So we preserve characteristics of the raw material such as minerals, taste and colour. We guarantee during processing the absence of chemicals traditionally used by sugar manufacturers, such as H2SO4 – sulphuric acid, NaOH – sodium hydroxide and Na2CO3 – sodium carbonate.
Ms Meurens explained that unlike glucose syrups (totally transparent like water), Sipal’s syrups present the colours of raw material (from light yellow to dark brown). Her firm is not only able to offer natural sweeteners but also natural colours and tastes.
With many certified organic food and beverage producers seeking raw and minimally refined sweeteners, Sipal is striking a chord through its sourcing and supply of non/low-refined, organic certified sweeteners and commitment to traceability and a transparent supply chain.
“The advantage of a non-refining process allows always a control of all additives used during the process and it means a full traceability from raw material to syrups,” Ms Meurens said.
Sipal focuses on organic cereal sweeteners but also offers a range of flavours and colours, eg: The Sipal Partners range, composed of Sipal and Seda ranges, offers flavours going from very neutral (wheat) to very defined (spelt), and in colours from very light (rice) to more darker shades (malted barley).
“This unique range will provide arguments, originality, and innovation to all of your product developments,” Ms Meurens said.
“The trend in the organic market is very positive among historical customers and also new customers in many agri-food sectors, such as in biscuits, bars, drinks, desserts, and confectionary.”
There is also a growing consumer demand for natural & organic sweeteners. Consumers are looking for a large reduction in processed ingredients and Sipal meets this objective with a natural, simple & environment friendly production process, Ms Meurens said.
Around 80% of the Sipal production is sold within the EU and UK to food manufacturers and also some shelf products for supermarkets in consumer packs. Sipal Partners has posted a strong sales increase of over 10%, especially in the European market. Sipal Partners reported that its large range of products gave it a big advantage.
“There is good demand for Sipal’s date fig syrup as it delivers the sweetness and taste and suits a lot of food recipes and products such as snack bars, juice and drinks, biscuits, bakery and breakfast cereals,” Ms Meurens said, adding that manufacturers can also gain the same sweetness level as sugar from natural fruits.
Sipal has been also offering a range of natural ingredients such as rice syrup, oat syrup, dates, figs & prunes syrups, to respond to the increasing demand of natural ingredients. “We use the same production process as for organic ingredients. The only difference is that the raw material is conventional and not organic certified.”
Sipal Partners had a good reaction to its products at the recent Natural Ingredients show in Amsterdam. Visitors to its exhibit were really interested in natural colours, natural tastes and natural sweeteners.
“Our product range offers a shorter and cleaner ingredient list. This is definitively one of the most important trends in the food sector at the moment,” Ms Meurens said.