How is sugar used in beverages?
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Used as a humectant and flavour attractant, invert sugar syrup has a high sweetness value and low viscosity.
Ragus produces two types of invert sugar syrup: fully inverted sugar syrup and partially inverted sugar syrup, such as golden syrup. Partial invert is a mixture of 32.5-35.5% sucrose to 42.5-45.5% invert, whereas full invert is 3.5-5.5% sucrose to 71-77% invert. As a result, their applications slightly differ.
While both are humectants and flavour attractants, partial inverts are primarily used due to their longer shelf life when stored, an important factor for smaller producers who rely on 25kg pails of product they may not use immediately after purchase. In addition, their sweetness value means they enable a 20% reduction in sucrose for fruit-flavoured drinks and are also found in cereal bars and mixes.
Full inverts are typically up to 40% sweeter than sucrose. They are used in icings and fondants to reduce crystallisation and produce a smooth, soft texture. For ice creams and sorbets, full inverts increase scoopability by depressing the product’s freezing point. This also helps to preserve the quality of baked goods, cakes and sauces that are stored frozen. Full inverts are also in suitable in low-fat products as a replacement for glycerine.
Both full and partial inverts are humectants and prevent microbial spoilage in products, giving them the maximum possible shelf life.
Invert sugar syrup has a clear to yellow appearance, low viscosity and a high sweetness value.
Crystallisation (4 months); microbiology (6 months)
Crystallisation (6 months); microbiology (12 months)
Bulk tankers, intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and 25kg pails.
|Description||Approx. (on sample)|
|Invert sugar (P)||42.5–45.5%|
|Invert sugar (F)||71–77%|
|Refractometer brix (P)||77.0– 77.3|
|Refractometer brix (F)||76.4–76.7|
The starting point for invert sugar syrup is table sugar, which is also known as sucrose. This is a disaccharide, meaning it is made up of two distinct sugar molecules that are bonded together – in this case fructose and glucose. To produce invert sugar syrup, this bond must be broken.
This is achieved by first heating a sucrose solution in inversion pans, leaving a pH of between five and six. For full inverts, this results in all the sugar needed for the final product being present, whereas partial inverts require more sucrose to be added later. After all the sugar crystals have dissolved, the requisite temperature is reached and the pH is lower than 1.6, the sucrose will invert into glucose and fructose. Once the desired level of inversion is reached, the syrup is neutralised with an alkaline agent.
It is at this point that more sucrose is added when producing partial inverts. After this has dissolved, the brix (the density of sucrose in a solution) will be a maximum of 77% and the polarisation +17 to +23. For full inverts, the brix is 76% with a polarisation of -18 to -22.
Filter aid is not needed for white sugar inverts as there are no raw sugar fibres present. The syrup, therefore, then gets passed through an 80-micron filter before being packed and sent to customers.
Invert sugar syrup is so-called because light passed through it reflects in the opposite direction to when shone through sucrose. The sugar is, therefore, inverted. Charles Eastick, Ragus’ founder, applied the same logic when choosing the company name: Ragus is ‘sugar’ backwards.
All our sugar syrup production adopts BRC standard procedures including HACCP and undergoes a process of temperature/time, filtration, and final stage 80-micron filter prior to packing.