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US-based Malt Products Corporation (MPC), a manufacturer of malted barley extract and other natural, nutritious sweeteners, has reported an upturn in demand for its all-natural sweeteners in the rapidly- expanding vegan ice cream market.

As the company explained to Confectionery Production, the increased interest showcases both heightened consumer engagement with such ingredients and the particulars of providing vegan dairy alternatives with attractive taste and texture.

According to the business, finding the right sweetener for vegan ice cream has two main challenges. First and foremost, not all sweeteners are vegan certified; for example, many common sugar products depend on animal parts, such as bone char, for colouring improvement. The other issue is the market segment: consumers seeking vegan food options largely intersect with those demanding all-natural, pantry-friendly ingredients. This proclivity often eliminates from consideration high-fructose corn syrups and other prominent sweeteners, even if they could technically be considered vegan.

Once those factors are addressed, texture become another significant consideration. Here, all-natural sweeteners like MPC’s TapRite™ tapioca extract and RiceRite™ brown rice-based sweeteners offer a lower dextrose equivalent (DE), provide bulking and control ice crystal growth – bringing a creamy consistency to vegan ice cream that may otherwise be difficult to realise.

Meanwhile, sweeteners like MPC’s OatRite™ oat extract, as well as certain vegan-certified items in its CaneRite™ sugar cane molasses portfolio, help provide appropriate taste to popular flavours such as mocha, crème brulee and cookies and cream.