Sweegen Develops Sugar Alternatives Made With Novel Sweet Protein Technology

US-based natural sweetener company Sweegen has used novel sweet protein technology to produce sugar alternatives claimed to have better properties than regular sweeteners.

The company’s Sweetensify Flavors range is made with brazzein, a protein sourced from the West African oubli fruit. Brazzein is calorie-free, 500-2000 times sweeter than sugar, and has excellent heat stability. Most importantly, the protein’s taste is not “one-dimensional” like many artificial sweeteners; instead, it can expand and intensify other tastes such as umami, as it hits a different taste receptor than ordinary sweeteners.

Furthermore, since brazzein is synthesized as a protein by the body, it does not affect blood sugar levels. Sweetensify products combine brazzein with other unique sweet proteins such as thaumatin II, helping to reduce the sugar content of food and beverages without compromising on taste.

In a blind taste test, participants found no significant difference between a lemon-lime soda made with sugar and a reduced sugar variety made with Sweetensify. Alongside carbonated soft drinks, the sweeteners are also suitable for use in energy drinks, cocktails, chocolate, cereals, and more.

Sweegen novel sweet protein technology
© Sweegen

“Substantially better”

Interest in brazzein as a sugar alternative is increasing significantly; recently, the Abu Dhabi-based Novel Foods group announced that it would be constructing a $500 million biotech production hub to produce brazzein using precision fermentation. This will circumvent the issue of harvesting oubli berries, which can be difficult as they grow in remote locations.

Other innovative recently developed sweeteners include MycoTechnology’s product made from a sweet protein found in honey truffles and Elo Life’s zero-calorie sweetener made from watermelons.

“Sweetensify™ doesn’t just replace the sweetness, but the flavor expression is substantially better than any previous technology,” said Casey McCormick, VP Global Innovation at Sweegen. “We are working at a biochemistry that others simply can’t.”

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