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Reducing the sugar content in foods and sweets is an issue that is becoming increasingly important worldwide. Sugar-reduced products in various food categories are already on supermarket shelves. However, the taste in some cases barely comes close to the original. Apart from the sweetening effect, artificial sweeteners have little in common with normal sugar and must be labelled by E-numbers. In addition to artificial sweeteners, there are also natural variants such as isomalto-oligosaccharides, or IMOs for short. They are obtained from starch and combine important functional, physical and sensory properties of sugar.
There are numerous ways to replace refined granulated sugar with plant-based or chemical sweeteners. The biggest challenge with most sugar alternatives is to match the properties of real sugar as closely as possible. Thus, off-flavors have to be masked, bulk material replaced, roasted flavors added and mouthfeel improved. Reformulation takes time and is costly. Products with reduced sugar content therefore often contain some undesirable ingredients. IMOs not only facilitate reformulation, but bring health benefits and flavor optimization.
The tongue twister isomalto-oligosaccharides (IMO) is an energy-reduced sugar substitute. IMO is the collective term for a mixture of oligosaccharides such as isomaltose, panose and isomaltotriose with a small proportion of glucose and maltose. They are derived from starch in a natural enzymatic conversion process. With reduced calories, IMOs in powder or syrup form provide a sweetening power relatively close to that of commercial sugar. They also provide a similar mouthfeel to fat and can be combined with artificial sweeteners and proteins thanks to a strong “masking effect”. IMOs have no unpleasant aftertaste, are easily digestible and have a satiating effect due to their high fiber content. These and other properties make IMOs an ideal ingredient for strong sugar reduction without loss of taste and complex reformulation.
In addition, the chemical properties of IMOs are very similar to sucrose. They provide the same mouthfeel and mask flavors from other sweeteners and proteins. They serve as good fillers, binders and texturizers. They have a long shelf life, good solubility and a wide pH tolerance range. Their heat resistance is around 160°C and they even have the browning effect known from sugar. Furthermore, IMOs are well tolerated and offer added health value due to their high fiber content.
With the VitaFiber products, our partner BioNeutra offers a selection of IMO for different applications. VitaFiber IMO Powder and VitaFiber IMO DP3 can be used as sucrose substitute in dairy products, bakery products, chocolate, sweet drinks and many more. VitaFiber IMO Syrup and VitaFiber IMO DP3 Syrup is considered as an optimal sugar substitute in sweets, bars, cereals etc.
VitaFiber IMO are made from corn, tapioca or pea starch and are available in organic or conventional versions. They contain no artificial flavors or additives and are suitable for clean labels. They are also free of allergens such as gluten or lactose. For more information on Isomalto oligosaccharides and on the products of our partner BioNeutra, visit kuendig.com/.