Global demand for naturally processed, organic sweeteners is growing due to campaigns and issues in the U.S. and the EU in 2012 concerning soda (sugar) beverages and  artificial and alternative sweeteners  such as sucralose and aspartame, while stevia is providing challenges for the bakery and baked goods industry as a replacement for sugar due to issues relating to bulking and flavor profiles and as it is being extracted using ethanol.

At BioFach 2013, major European  sweetener supplier Sipal Partners gained a positive trade reaction and enquiries for its existing range of concentrates and sweeteners and the launch of its new range of Sipa-Dates, Sipa-Figs and  Sipa-Rice concentrated fruit  syrup  sweeteners, and oat syrup. A good response came  from  manufacturers and companies in the bakery products (biscuits, snack bars, breakfast), cereal products, gluten free products, drinks, baby food and other markets, said Benedicte Meurens Sales & Marketing Manager.

The Belgian firm has earned a reputation for its range of non refined, organic cereal concentrates and sweeteners, including Sipa syrups made from wheat, rice, manioc, maize, malted barley, oat, spelt, date juice concentrate and purée, fig juice concentrate, prune juice concentrate, plus the Seda range: gluten, starch and fructose syrup.

“Our top sellers are rice and wheat syrups and the reaction from the  market at  BioFach was  excellent for  the  Sipal date syrup and rice syrup,” she said. “We export 80% of our products,  mainly to  Europe. We are close to many countries and are the only company in Europe with such a large range of sweeteners that are organic certified and chemical-free.

“This  is  why  people  are choosing grain and dried-fruit- based sweeteners as they  are all  naturally  processed and certified organic. We  process flour such as spelt flour from grain and mix with water at a certain temperature to hydrolise it to obtain the long chain starch enzymes, gain glucose, maltose, fructose and  gain a sweet juice and  separate the soluble and insoluble to only retain the juice in syrup form.

Our  process is non-refining and much lighter; we don’t use any chemicals and end up with more minerals and health benefits and products with a positive gylcemic index.”

The    focus    on    organic raw materials ensures total traceability from the field to the concentrates. And with its own unique and  clean production process (non-refining), the Sipal range also allows: keeping a  maximum  of  benefits  of the raw materials, such as minerals; the mineral content of the Sipal range is much higher than that of brown cane sugar; and guaranteeing more natural labelling: ‘non refined rice syrup‘ instead of ‘sugar’ or ‘glucose syrup’.

Created in 2002, Sipal Partners  is   the   marketing unit for the exclusively organic products of two partners wanting to share their complementary know-how: Meurens Natural s.a. in Belgium (Sipal range) and Sedamyl S.p.a in Italy (Seda range).

Meurens Natural has been complying with organic specifications since  the  end of the 1980s, even though European legislation did  not come into force until 1993. Benedicte Meurens is the fourth generation of a family committed to the food sector, who  sees the  organic sector a niche, but a trendsetter. “The conventional sector is observing how we find creative alternatives  and solutions and are imitating and following,” she said.

“We try to be efficient and sustainable, re-using the water to provide energy, and the by-product of our cereal processing for animal feed. The majority of our employees live nearby. We started as an organic company, not the other way around.”