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Top 12 applications of 2022: how different sugars shape food and beverage products 

22/12/2022 By Ibrahim Belo in Applications

Sugar is so much more than a sweetener. As well as playing a fundamental role in almost every cuisine on the planet, it’s one of the biggest players in global food manufacturing. Dive into this month-by-month tour of our 2022 archive to explore 12 of the top ways to use sugar in food and beverage products. 

January: Sugar creates vital texture and mouthfeel in plant-based ‘meats’ 

When consumers buy plant-based meat replacements, they expect a meaty taste and texture. Replicating taste is difficult, but creating the juicy, chewy texture of meat is perhaps even harder. Known as ‘mouthfeel’, the physical sensations food brings to your teeth and tongue – produced by the complex interaction of a product’s many components – is crucial. Manufacturers often use invert syrups to retain the moisture in plant-based meat substitutes, preventing them from drying out.  

Read Sugar’s role in plant-based foods: texture and mouthfeel to find out what sugar does for meat and dairy substitutes. 

Ten tablespoons of sugar go into every 20 sushi rolls.

February: Sugar is Japanese cuisine’s essential seasoning

The sushi industry is worth over $22billion in the US. While the fish makes it an undoubtedly savoury dish, 10 tablespoons of sugar go into every 20 sushi rolls. The amount of sugar in the rice – along with the type of rice itself – are what define the level of firmness, stickiness and chewiness in the final product. But there’s a lot more to Japanese cuisine than sushi. Start to explore how sugar shapes modern Japanese dishes in our blog Japanese sugar applications in traditional foods

March: Choosing between golden syrup and glucose syrup for your product 

While both these products are humectants, helping to retain moisture, glucose syrup is light and sweet, adding volume and mouthfeel to food and beverages, while golden syrup has a distinctive, caramel-like flavour, withstands high baking temperatures and prevents crystallisation. 

Golden syrup’s sticky, viscous texture makes it popular with manufacturers who make confectionery, beverages, baked goods, sauces and pharmaceuticals. Glucose syrup is often used in jams and sauces to prevent crystallisation and extend shelf life. Find out more in Glucose syrup or golden syrup: your questions answered

April: Sugar’s role in reformulating food and beverage products 

Because customer priorities are constantly changing, sugar’s supporting role in a variety of manufactured goods makes it well-placed to step in and reformulate recipes. Apart from sugar’s role in replacing the texture of meat in meat substitutes, it’s gained popularity in gluten-free and dairy-free food product manufacturing too. Read more on sugar’s versatility in Reformulating recipes: sugar’s role in providing alternatives

For toffee and caramel flavours in chocolate, the smoky notes in dark cane muscovado sugar make it the perfect choice.

May: The best chocolate needs the perfect type of sugar

When it comes to chocolate, any sugar won’t do. For example, invert sugar syrup is the only choice for chocolates with fillings, as its ability to resist crystallisation means it keeps the centres away from the exterior shell.  

If food producers want caramel and toffee flavours in their chocolate, dark cane muscovado sugar adds a layer of intensity, richness and smoothness from the molasses inherent in muscovado sugars. Read Manufacturing chocolate: sugar’s role beyond flavour to find out how the type of sugar makes the final product. 

June: Finding a natural binding agent in sugar 

We all know that binding means sticking things together, which all types of sugar do very well. But in the food industry, binding can also mean combining ingredients that won’t separate, improving texture by thickening, or affecting how mixed ingredients react with each other. 

Syrups, like golden syrup or treacle are often used to bind together dry ingredients, like oats in flapjacks. Some manufacturers use invert sugar syrup to create clusters in cereals or cereal bars because it has a mellower flavour. For a deep dive into how and why you can use different types of sugar for different kinds of binding, read How does sugar bind ingredients together? 

The sourness of Thai cuisine is balanced by the rich sweetness of molasses.

July: Sugar is a cornerstone of Thai cuisine 

The signature combination of hot, cold, sweet and sour flavours in Thai cuisine relies on sugar, even – and especially – in savoury dishes like Pad Thai. Modern recipes often call for dark brown muscovado sugar, which balances the sharp tang of fish sauce with the rich taste of molasses.  

Explore how sugar keeps Thai cuisine sweet, sticky and much more in Authentic Thai food and beverages depend on pure sugars for success

August: Soft brown sugar applications 

Our two types of soft brown sugar – soft brown light sugar and soft brown dark sugar, are created from different recipes. Our light brown sugar mixes white sugar with refiner’s syrup and a treacle blend, while our dark brown sugar contains molasses too. 

The softer flavour of soft brown light sugar suits more delicately flavoured cakes, like coconut, chocolate and carrot, while the more robust flavour of soft dark brown sugar lends itself to stronger tasting cakes – like Christmas cake – or for meat glazes or marinades. It’s also popular in coffee. Find out more in our blog When to use soft brown sugar in recipes.  

September: The dark deliciousness of black treacle  

Black treacle is the uncrystallised syrup that comes from cane molasses. It started out as a medicine before becoming a preserver of meat and an ingredient on bread. Now, it’s a liquid sweetener, natural colourant and flavouring for sauces, baked products, confectionery and desserts. Many Christmas puddings, treacle tart, fruit cake, parkin and gingerbread recipes contain black treacle. 

Read our blog What is black treacle to find out all you need to know about this traditional, decadent pure sugar. 

October: Sugar as a natural and effective preservative 

Sugar preserves food because of its humectant properties: it absorbs the water in the product so bacteria, yeasts and moulds can’t multiply. Without sugar, jam (for instance) just wouldn’t be jam. The fruit needs the crystalline sugar not only for preservation, but for sweetness and mouthfeel too.  

Because sugar brings other benefits too, like taste and texture, it plays a starring role in many of our favourite foods. Explore those functions in our blog Sugar as a natural preservative

November: Christmas confectionery during the sweetest season  

For an extra intense, sticky sweetness, golden syrup delivers the best results.

Every culture and community that celebrates Christmas has its own much-loved seasonal confectionery. Can you imagine honeycomb without its golden yellow hue and extra sweet flavour? That’s all thanks to the golden syrup with its extra 20% of sweetness. Another festive favourite – fudge – owes its distinctive graininess to dark muscovado sugar, left unstirred at just the right point to let the sucrose crystallise. 

Find out how using the right sugar is fundamental to the quality of every festive confectionery product in  Christmas confectionery: choosing the right sugars

December: Sweet Persian delights in today’s Iran

Sugar has played a part in Iranian cuisine for over 15 centuries. Avid tea drinkers, Iranians sweeten their chai with rock sugar known as chai nabat. A mixture of sugar and water that forms crystals after the right amount of time at the right temperature, the type of sugar used for nabat isn’t important: crystallisation only requires sucrose, so any form of cane or beet sugar works. 

Read about sugar’s fundamental role in Iranian foods and beverages through the ages in Sugar around the world: Persian cuisine in modern day Iran

Our sugars are not only sweeteners that bring a treasured taste to foods and beverages the world over, but functional ingredients that provide foundational properties to food products. To learn more about our pure sugars, contact a member of our Customer Services Team. For more sugar news and Ragus updates, keep browsing SUGARTALK and follow Ragus on LinkedIn. 

Ibrahim Belo

With a primary responsibility for manufactured product quality control, Ibrahim works within our supplier chain, factory and production laboratory. He has a focus on continuous improvement, implementing and maintaining our technical and quality monitoring processes, ensuring standards and product specifications are met.

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