Low-calorie sweetener for indulgence without regret

In Asia, demand for low-calorie foods is growing. Since the beginning of 2017, a joint venture between Evonik Industries and Thai company Rajburi Sugar has been producing the sugar substitute Isomalt at a demonstration facility in Ratchaburi (Thailand). Creavis developed the optimized production process. 

As sweet as sugar, but with only half the calories: Isomalt is used as a sugar substitute in confectionary such as candies or chewing gum and, as a low-calorie sweetener, is also suitable for diabetics, the number of whom is growing apace in Asia due to changing eating habits. Almost one in ten Asians now suffers from the most common form of the disease, type 2 diabetes. Current studies indicate that the number could almost double in the next 25 years. 

Isomalt is the only substitute produced from commercial sugar (sucrose). Using the established production process it used to be quite difficult to keep the residual sugar content in the product below 0.5 percent—the requirement for candies to be allowed to be designated as “sugar-free”. And that is what the market is looking for. 

A team from Creavis took just a few years to develop an efficient, continuous process for production of sugar-free Isomalt. The proprietary, now patented process that uses biotechnological methods consists of only a few steps and generates more product from the same original quantity. 

The product Risumalt® has a somewhat different composition from conventional Isomalt and boasts a number of advantages for manufacturers and consumers, one being low moisture absorption. This means that candies, baked goods, and food supplements produced with Risumalt® have a particularly long shelf life. They also do not need to be individually packed because they do not stick together and they meet consumers’ exacting esthetic and health requirements.

Evonik and Rajburi Sugar are the first to manufacture this sweetener in Asia. Rajburi Sugar is one of the leading sugar producers in Thailand and for the entire region and is now increasingly focusing on low-calorie alternatives as well. The company supplies the raw material for the production of Risumalt®. This product is now available in all Asian markets. In putting the demonstration facility into operation, Creavis has laid the foundations for the development of a new business in Evonik’s Advanced Food Ingredients growth field.