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New approach to sugar reduction via super-sweet proteins

US cranberry company, Ocean Spray, has partnered with Amai Proteins to incorporate healthy, sweet proteins into its product portfolio, creating cranberry juice with roughly 40 percent less sugar.

Israeli biotech company, Amai Proteins, has designed this protein to maintain stability in extreme environments – with thermal and acid stability for better shelf life and an appealing taste. (Learn more about the technology here)

Ocean Spray pegs the new partnership as a “significant milestone” for the beverage industry that meets sugar reduction targets while maintaining flavour – a key challenge for formulators.

Currently, thaumatin is the only globally-used “sweet protein” found in a wide variety of food products. However, Amai Proteins highlights that its use is hampered by high price, lack of supply, imperfect taste-profile and lack of sufficient shelf-life and stability in some applications.

“We will continue to develop options that showcase the incredible health benefits of the cranberry while highlighting our commitment to health and wellness,” says Katy Latimer, VP of R&D at Ocean Spray.

Brewed for sweetness

To manufacture its sugar-reducing protein, Amai Proteins conducts an Agile-Integrative Computational Protein Design (AI-CPD) using a cloud-computing-based software, which designs proteins that are 70 to 100 percent identical to sweet proteins found in nature.

Incorporated into Ocean Spray’s cranberry juice formulation, the sweet protein is marketed as “thousands of times sweeter than sugar.”

Every protein is composed of a sequence of twenty amino acids. AI-CPD examines this protein amino acid “necklace” to naturally create a new sequence of amino acids that is highly similar to the original protein, while conferring beneficial properties.

The resulting non-GMO protein is inspired by sweet proteins naturally produced by exotic fruits found along the Equatorial belt.

Amai Proteins’ sweetening solution is a 100% protein produced by environmentally-friendly production methods in a brewery using yeast or other microorganisms.

When consumed, sweet proteins bind to people’s sweet receptors like sugar, triggering the sensation of sweetness. They are digested by the upper gastrointestinal tract, just like proteins, which are consumed in large amounts daily.

Amai Proteins’ novel non-GMO ingredients are backed by positionings including “zero calories, zero glycaemic index, tasty, cheaper than sugar (in sweetness units), widely food-compatible and scalable.”

Many ingredients today are produced by regulatory-approved yeast. Underscoring the burgeoning potential of fermentation food-tech, flavour house Symrise recently highlighted a sweet shift in fermentation in the upcoming years.

Comments “Sweet proteins are the latest front in satisfying consumers’ sweet tooth without challenging their waistlines. They offer CPGs such as Ocean Spray an option that avoids the aftertaste issues common with many other natural sweeteners — and add a small dose of protein at the same time.”