‘No added sugar’ is the fastest growing food and drink claim, rising 18% per year according to data from Innova Market Insights. This trend is being driven by growing consumer awareness of nutrition and a hardening stance taken by regulators.
In Brazil, for instance, the country’s food industry is preparing for new regulations that would require producers to include front-of-pack warning signs on products to indicate high levels of added sugar, sodium and saturated fats.
The legislation comes into force in October 2022 but products already on the market have until the following year to either change their packaging, or change their recipes.
With a growing number of Brazilian consumers targeting improved nutrition – and 66% saying that they prioritise ‘taking better care of their health’ according to research from Lightspeed/Mintel – Arla Foods Ingredients believes that the latter is the best option.
“Brazil’s new food labelling regulations require producers to include front-of-pack warning signs to inform consumers about high levels of added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium. Also, the new nutritional information table shall mandatorily give details about the amount of added sugar and total sugar, the energy and nutritional value per 100g or 100ml, and the number of portions per package. These measures improve the clarity and legibility of the nutritional information on labels and help consumers make conscious choices.
“All producers will have to update their packaging to comply with new regulations, thus it opens doors for reformulations to avoid warning signs, make a cleaner ingredients list, highlight new benefits and differentiate from competitors,” Diego Pérez Márquez, Regional Technical Support for South America, told DairyReporter.
Why reformulate with whey?
Arla Foods Ingredients is highlighting the potential reformulation benefits of using its whey permeate Variolac that, it says, can help manufacturers adapt to Brazil’s new regulations on the labelling of sugar.
According to the company, Variolac boosts the creaminess and milky flavour of products such as dairy beverages and desserts. It can also help manufactures eliminate ‘added sugar’ from their ingredient lists because sugars that are naturally present in milk and dairy ingredients do not have to be highlighted under Brazil’s new rules.
“As sugars that are naturally present in milk and dairy ingredients do not have to be highlighted on the nutritional information table, it will push producers to simplify their recipes with ingredients than can help overcome the new challenges. Variolac whey permeate can act as dairy solid modulator due to its sweet milky taste, low ash content, stable mineral profile and free-flowing powder properties over a 12-month shelf life,” Pérez Márquez told this publication.
“Our Variolac whey permeate is a milk solid with minimum 85% lactose content. As a bulking agent, it can optimise recipes and replace other dairy solids, such as skimmed milk powder, lactose or sweet whey powder, and also non-dairy solids like maltodextrin or dextrose.”
Not a stand-alone solution
However, Pérez Márquez continued, Variolac should not be viewed as a ‘stand-alone’ solution for food makers who want to reformulate products.
For this reason, Arla Foods Ingredients’ South America application team has prepared three recipes Variolac as a dairy solid modulator to demonstrate how its inclusion can allow ‘no added sugar’ claims. The new concepts are a fermented dairy beverage; a UHT beverage; and a UHT dessert.
Pérez Márquez said the aim is to highlight the possibilities of leveraging dairy ingredients in reformulation strategies and show how this ‘can ultimately end up in gaining new consumers and market share’.
“Nutritional labelling helps consumers make conscious choices when purchasing food and drink for themselves and for their families. There is growing pressure – from regulators and from consumers – to reduce the amount of added sugar in products… which can help capture the attention of new consumers.”