Evonik Industries and Thai company Rajburi Sugar have inked an agreement to manufacture isomalt in Asia.
They have also opened a demonstration plant in Ratchaburi (Thailand).
The facility will employ a special, high-yield production process developed and patented by Evonik.
“The joint venture pools our competencies,” says Dr. Sunthorn Arunanondchai, president and CEO of C.P. Land and chairman of Rajburi Sugar.
“We supply the raw material and will put all of our effort into marketing the product locally, while the innovative power of Evonik made the new demonstration plant possible in the first place.”
Rajburi Sugar is one of the key manufacturers of sugar in Thailand and for the entire region, and is increasingly engaged in producing low-calorie alternatives.
Demand for sugar substitutes is high in Asia, and incidence of diabetes and obesity is growing.
Nearly one in ten Asians now suffers from type-2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.
Recent studies suggest this could double in the next 25 years. Consequently, there is a growing need for low-calorie foods, and confectionary manufacturers are increasingly turning to sugar-free products.
In contrast to other sugar substitutes, isomalt absorbs virtually no moisture from ambient air.
Since it does not clump during manufacturing, or as an end product, sweets and other treats do not stick together – and therefore do not need to be packaged individually.
Moreover, they fulfill consumers’ high expectations in terms of aesthetics and health.
Isomalt is tooth-friendly and only has limited bioavailability, translating into fewer calories – and less guilt when being indulgent.
Against this background, researchers at Creavis, Evonik’s strategic innovation unit, have linked up with process technology specialists to streamline the conventional isomalt production process.
The new method comprises fewer steps, and employs biotechnology to raise the isomalt yield.
The isomalt manufactured at the plant in Ratchaburi will be marketed in Southeast Asia by Evonik’s Pharma & Food Ingredients Product Line and Rajburi Sugar under the brand name Risumalt – and primarily for use in food and dietary supplements.