By Nicole Kerr for Food Ingredients First

CaneRite Panela26 May 2021 — Supplier of molasses and natural sweeteners, International Molasses, has unveiled CaneRite panela, a natural free-flowing powder sweetener is made from the juice extracted from the entire sugar cane plant.

CaneRite panela is unrefined, and non-centrifuged, resulting in the retention of all of the cane plant’s original flavor and nutritional benefits. It is now available in North America.

Nutritionally, CaneRite panela is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and zinc. It also has a significant quantity of antioxidants.

Compared to raw sugar, it has five times the amount of vitamins and minerals.

Unrecognized potential?
While panela is used as a traditional staple in Latin America and many other parts of the world, it has been “generally ignored” by US food manufacturers, according to International Molasses. However, this launch provides an accessible form that is easy to use in a wide array of formulations.

“CaneRite panela combines the flavor and nutrition benefits of a sweetener widely used in other markets with an ease of formulation attractive to North American food manufacturers,” notes Amy Targan, president of International Molasses and its sister company, Malt Products Corp.

“It also amounts to a sort of nature-made brown sugar, eliminating the multi-step process often utilized to produce brown sugars by combining white sugar with molasses products,” she adds.

DouxMatok also recently identified North America as a key market for sugar solutions. Its Incredo sugar is based on real cane sugar and enables sugar reduction. CaneRite panela is more than a sweetener; it has binding properties and can be used as a food coloring. 

A 2019 Innova Market Insights survey found that sugar reduction is a popular option for three in five US consumers who would rather cut back on sugar than consume artificial sweeteners.

Sweeteners play an essential role in a long-term sugar reduction approach, although meeting naturalness and functionality standards remains a top priority.

More than a natural sweetener 
CaneRite panela is positioned as an “attractive sweetener” option for a wide range of food applications. These include spices, barbeque and other sauces, cookies, bakery items, bars and confectionary items.

For solid food, CaneRite panela offers good binding properties and natural brown coloring with caramel notes. This product is positioned as a clean label ingredient that aligns with non-GMO label claims that have become increasingly popular with consumers.

Yellow tones of toffee and caramel characterize CaneRite panela’s flavor profile. The taste of this product is described as “sweet but not too sweet.”

CaneRite panela is sourced from sustainable farms in Ecuador that have been recognized for their development of innovative organic farming methods.

The ReBird-Avez project is an initiative that fosters the protection and propagation of native birds and insects. It also utilizes these species to control pests, and this allows farmers to eliminate pesticide use.

By Nicole Kerr