Sweegen is expanding its sweetener portfolio in early 2022 with the zero-calorie, high-intensity sweetener brazzein. The product was developed in collaboration with long-term innovation partner Conagen, which has scaled it to commercial production.
Brazzein is a small, heat-stable protein, 500 to 2,000 times sweeter than regular sugar. Brazzein is stable in a wide range of pH and retains its qualities after pasteurization. It is also soluble, making it suitable for sugar reduction across a spectrum of food and beverage applications.
“Introducing a high-purity brazzein to Sweegen’s portfolio of natural sweeteners is one more creative solution for helping brands make low-calorie better-for-you products,” said Shari Mahon, head of global innovation at Sweegen. “Brands can look forward to exploring the synergistic benefits of combining brazzein and stevia for reducing sugar in food and beverages in a cost-effective way.”
Brazzein’s extraordinary qualities stand out among high-intensity sweeteners, but the quest to scale and commercialize it has proven difficult until now. Found sparingly in nature, brazzein derives from the West African climbing plant’s fruit, oubli. To scale brazzein sustainably, Conagen produces it by a proprietary precision fermentation process, a technology producing clean, nature-based ingredients.
“Brazzein is the first product generated from our new peptide platform, which fits well into our existing world-scale, precision fermentation infrastructure,” said Casey Lippmeier, PhD, vice-president of innovation at Conagen. “Peptides and small proteins like brazzein can be very difficult to make economically. However, now that we have successfully scaled this peptide, we expect more sustainable, novel peptide ingredients will rapidly follow.”