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Erythritol, the shortage, and its solution

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Low-calorie sugar alternatives have finally snowballed into a position to crush the sugar market. The growth in the ‘no-added-sugar’ campaign, consumer awareness, and food regulatory body guidelines have driven these ‘better’ sugar alternatives to gain significant attention.

Consequently, high demand and consumption have led some of these sweet solutions to face supply-chain inconsistencies and shortages.

Erythritol, massively appreciated as it is, was unlikely to stay unscathed, leading to a global supply crisis and an 80% increase in market price. A classic example of market dynamics.

As drastic as it sounds, organizations too dependent on erythritol as a sweetener for their products are at risk of empty warehouses and threatened business.

So, is there a way out? Let’s find out.

Everyone's favorite polyol

Erythritol claimed as everyone’s favourite polyol or sugar alcohol is one of the preferred low-calorie sugar substitutes commonly used in consumer goods. 

Falling neither into the sugar nor alcohol category, it is a type of carbohydrate that is naturally found in some fruits, mushrooms, and fermented foods and provides a cooling effect upon consumption. In the market, it is available in granulated and powder form and in other reduced-calorie sweetener blends.

EFG: Erythritol for goodness

Let me give you some reasons why it became everyone’s favourite, besides the fact that it has no significant side effects.

Erythritol is the only non-nutritive sweetener among other nutritive polyols such as xylitol, sorbitol, and maltitol, with glycemic index 1. Compared to other sugar alcohols that ordinarily provide half as many calories as table sugar, it contributes only 0.2 calories per gram, almost 95% less, therefore nutritionally labelled as zero calories. 

Some additional benefits and functionalities that this sweetener offers include: no effect on blood sugar, high digestive tolerance, potential antioxidant properties, tooth-friendly, good heat and acid stability, increased shelf life, and improved bulking capacity. 

Multiple well-researched studies claim it to be absolutely safe for consumption by everyone, including children, pregnant women, and people with diabetes and obesity concerns. 

What’s even better is, it is non-carcinogenic to you and non-toxic to your furry friends. So if you are worried if erythritol is toxic for your dog, it is not, unlike xylitol.

Natural, to be or not to be

The answer to whether erythritol is natural or not is a little complex.

Like most sugar alcohols, it is present in small quantities in nature. Hence to make it commercial, erythritol is manufactured by employing yeast and different strains of lactic acid bacteria that ferments glucose or fructose from corn, apples, pears, and wheat starch. The end product contains no artificial ingredient and is processed minimally in a way that does not fundamentally alter the commodity, which according to the USDA, can be termed natural.

However, the term natural is perceived differently among different groups, so its naturalness comes down to open interpretation.

Supply shortage: are you prepared?

Is it apparent how Covid-19 wreaked havoc on everyone’s physical, social and mental wellbeing, driving not just individuals but even businesses to a breakdown. On a professional level, it has profoundly impacted direct-to-consumer interactions, hampered supply chains, and influenced consumer purchase decisions.

Erythritol, majorly produced in the USA and China, suffered greatly due to the pandemic, with sky-rocketing prices, proportionally low supplies, and a massive drop in the oceanic shipping capacity. Some other factors that influenced the global supply crisis include:

  • Increased consumption in the Chinese beverage industry, owing to the increment in low-caloric sweetener class. 
  • Political brawl between China and the US, leading to a 25% tax on the beloved polyol. 
  • Revival of the Chinese pork industry to which corn is the principal feed source. Corn also happens to be the primary source of erythritol production, and China is among the largest importers of corn that allegedly houses nearly half the world’s swine population. Chinese importers reportedly purchased double the amount of corn in a month than they did in 2019, spiking a 30% increase in corn prices.

For the foreseeable future, the situation doesn’t seem to be dissolving. So what’s the way out?

Turn the shortage into an opportunity

In the present times, the mindset that will help businesses persevere is not how to survive or play it safe but how to find opportunity in adversity. 

Businesses must be willing to be perceptive, adjust their resources to reflect consumer demands, focus on innovative strategies, and harness underrated trends.

The way out of the current supply crunch is opting for better and innovative solutions.

Here’s how Arboreal can help. We at Arboreal Stevia custom-develop formulations including erythritol-stevia blends to provide you with the best of both worlds. With our formulations, you don’t have to worry about fluctuating supply chain. We reduce your dependency on erythritol by 50%. You get your order fulfilled timely at budget-friendly prices and with additional perks like enhanced sweetness, great taste, and added health benefits.

And to top it all, we make the shift as smooth as possible with our risk-free trials and formulation support, so you only make an order after being entirely satisfied with the sample.

If you are an innovator that takes quick action to grab opportunities that others often miss, what are you waiting for? Get your free sample today, and let your taste buds make the decision.

References:

Godswill, A. Chinaza. “Sugar alcohols: chemistry, production, health concerns and nutritional importance of mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol.” Int. J. Adv. Acad. Res 3 (2017): 31-66.

Regnat, K., R. L. Mach, and A. R. Mach-Aigner. “Erythritol as sweetener—wherefrom and whereto?.” Applied microbiology and biotechnology 102.2 (2018): 587-595.

De Cock, Peter. “Erythritol.” Sweeteners and sugar alternatives in food technology (2012): 213-241.