Why you should sweeten with Reb M
Product development • Have you not tried reb M? Then it's about time. Get ready for a whole new experience. The flavour is pure, clean and similar to sugar. The advantage is that it can be used in food and beverages without the necessity for the addition of ingredients to mask aftertaste. We are talking about an exclusive little steviol glycoside. It is found only in low concentrations in Stevia leaves. Curious? Read on.
In just a decade, steviol glycosides, the sweet substances of the plant stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), have made great progress in the world. Globally, the number of food and beverage products sweetened with steviol glycosides is estimated to soon exceed 16,000 products.
Cravings for steviol glycosides
The use of steviol glycosides is an increasing trend. This high intensity sweetener, of natural origin, is grabbing market share from other high-intensity sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame K and sucralose.
The reason behind the growing use of steviol glycosides is that the number of health-conscious consumers is increasing. Consumers want sweetened foods and beverages, but strive for lower calorie content and ingredients of natural origin. GMO-free raw materials is also high on the requirement list.
And the taste?
This is where the exclusive steviol glycoside Reb M enters the scene. It doesn’t compromise with the taste.
The search for the perfect steviol glycoside
Among the first steviol glycosides approved by the EU in 2011, stevioside was the pioneer of stevia-based sweeteners. Stevioside was first because it is the most common steviol glycoside in stevia leaves. But it has a bitter taste and a licorice-like aftertaste.
But then the researchers discovered stevia plants that differed from the crowd. They had a higher proportion of the steviol glycoside rebaudioside A, which tastes better than stevioside and is also twice as sweet. That opened commercial opportunities for Reb A, which is today the most widely used steviol glycoside.
Since Reb A is sweeter and tastes better, it is easier to use. In addition, there are methods to mask the remaining bitterness, as well as the licorice-like aftertaste.
Reb A was a major step forward for steviol glycosides as a sweetener. But it was soon discovered that the purest forms of Reb A do not always taste the best. The presence of other steviol glycosides has a beneficial effect on the taste. That realization was the beginning of a search for the others.
Reb M the new star
The researchers discovered the steviol glycoside rebaudioside M (Reb M). It has a unique flavour profile that is very close to sugar, and without the bitterness and licorice taste of its predecessors.
Scientists have known Reb M for a while, but it is only now, after it was approved by EU in 2017, its star has been lit in the sky of the food industry.
Reb M is a steviol glycoside with a unique flavour profile that allows it to stand on its own, without the addition of ingredients that mask unwanted off-taste or aftertaste.
Reb M has more glucose units linked to steviol
Steviol glycosides are the sweet components of the Stevia leaves. They are composed of a steviol unit, linked to a varying number of glucose units. For example, the most common steviol glycoside stevioside, has three glucose units, and Reb A has four.
Reb M has a total of six glucose units. The high number of glucose units is part of the explanation for Reb M’s good taste. Research has indicated that the more glucose units present, the higher the sweetness and the lower the bitterness of the steviol glycoside.
Low concentration in stevia leaves
|Steviol glycoside||Proportion of dry matter|
But how low is the concentration of Reb M in stevia leaves? The Reb M content in dry leaf is estimated to be less than 0.1% by weight.
To give an even clearer picture of how small the faction is, a study published in the journal Foods can help illustrate the whole thing. The report describes how 2.2 kilos of Stevia leaf was processed resulting in 98 percent pure steviol glycosides. Of the extracted steviol glycosides, only 1.1 grams was Reb M.
Tastes like sugar
The low concentration makes Reb M part of an extremely exclusive group of steviol glycosides, and therefore belongs to an upper price range. But it has several advantages that make it attractive in product development.
Reb M has a sweetness similar to sugar. The flavour is described as pure and sweet, pleasant and enjoyable. It does not have a prolonged aftertaste or other off-tastes, such as metallic or liquorice-like aftertaste.
Reb M can dance solo
Steviol glycosides are very sweet — 250 to 350 times sweeter than sugar. Therefore, a few grams here or there makes a big difference. But not primarily when it comes to sweetness, which flattens out with increased amount (unlike sugar), but when it comes to the unwanted flavors. Here, Reb M has another advantage over Reb A.
The use of Reb A generally requires greater expertise, insight and effort, and not seldom the involvement of other ingredients that will mask flavours, such as sweetness enhancer and flavour modulators. All together it will dampen the typical aftertastes and highlight the sweetness.
The unique flavour profile of Reb M allows it to be used as a pure steviol glycoside without masking ingredients, in a variety of products. Therefore Reb M can be valuable as a single sweetener in some products. If bulk is needed, Reb M can be mixed with other sweeteners as part of a complete sweetening solution.
The cherry on top, product tests show that Reb M can be used in lower dosages. And a low dosage naturally gives greater influence and control on the price.
Curious about Reb M?
Reb M is available in the Bayn Europe range since spring of 2019, and is offered under the brand Navia, with 80 and 95 percent purity.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you want to try or discuss the possibilities with reb M. We are happy to answer any questions. You can reach us by phone number +46 8 613 28 88, or if you prefer by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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