Dr Ahmed Abbas Mohamed, Director of Analysis & Growth at WET Group, outlines how modern expertise can allow delicate drinks producers to create no (or diminished) sugar, no synthetic sweeteners, appetising and value efficient merchandise. The continued battle in opposition to rising weight problems ranges within the UK stays a major problem amongst society, affecting public well being coverage and assets, and influencing the considering of the complete food and drinks provide chain.Newest figures from NHS Digital say that 64 p.c of adults in England are obese, whereas, shockingly, one in 20 ladies are classed as ‘morbidly overweight’. One thing needs to be completed and the meals and beverage business is within the highlight with regards to offering efficient options which are value conscious and palatable to the buyer.The 2018 introduction of the tax on delicate drinks, which is also known as the ‘sugar tax’, is one excessive profile initiative taken by the federal government to attempt to stem the rising weight problems tide. With the common delicate drink consumption degree per particular person per yr exceeding 200 litres, it’s no surprise that the UK has fallen in keeping with France, Norway and Mexico as one of many handful of nations to introduce such a levy on drinks producers.On account of the sugar tax, over 50 p.c of producers have already diminished the sugar content material of drinks, whereas others are in midst of taking a strategic place on whether or not to regulate their merchandise to fall in keeping with the rising demand for more healthy drinks with a diminished sugar content material.These organisations, which haven’t, to date, taken the choice to cut back the sugar content material of their drinks at the moment are confronted with the selection of whether or not to soak up the fee internally or cross it on to customers within the type of dearer merchandise. And, it’s not simply the affect of sugar that’s driving the talk concerning the well being advantages of sentimental drink merchandise. For a few years there have been plenty of considerations offered within the media concerning the kinds of components utilized in processed meals merchandise, and delicate drinks haven’t been exempt from such scrutiny. Whereas a lot has been completed over the previous decade to make use of sweeteners and reduce the usage of preservatives and acids throughout the delicate drinks business, a legacy of concern stays, and such public sentiment is one thing producers are persevering with to battle with.The necessity for sugar in delicate drink manufacturing originates from the usual methodology of cleansing water from supply. Reverse Osmosis is essentially the most generally used water purification methodology by bottlers, but it surely creates an acidic medium and a pH degree round 6.1 leading to a bitter style that’s additional worsened by the addition of carbon, preservatives, stabilisers and different chemical substances. To make sure that the product is appeasing to the customers, massive portions of sugar and flavours are added to counteract the general bitter and salty style. Nevertheless, all these components additional scale back the pH degree, typically creating an acidic resolution with a pH degree of two.5.For producers searching for sensible options that allow them to provide low sugar merchandise that can enchantment to the general public, in addition to proceed to ensure well being and security, new expertise and modern considering is offering a brand new, value efficient and scalable resolution.Analysis-based solutionWET Group has developed a analysis undertaking alongside College of Sheffield and De Montford College and co-funded by Innovate UK. The findings from this work has confirmed that if drink manufacturing can preserve a excessive pH degree and decrease the quantity of complete dissolved solids (TDS), it removes the necessity for any sugar additions. TDS presence on account of water infiltration might be resulting from a wide range of causes, equivalent to agricultural run off or soil contamination. It isn’t recognized to provide hostile well being reactions, however is generally addressed to enhance the aesthetic traits of consuming water.WET Group’s AES (Activated Enhancement System) expertise is designed to reverse the manufacturing want for the beverage business to introduce sugar and different brokers to their merchandise, and alternatively produce drinks that aren’t solely decrease in energy, but additionally a proactive software within the battle in opposition to weight problems.The AES expertise works by making a excessive pH/low TDS water utilizing a proprietary course of to imitate nature. This produces an alkaline pH which might be set at any degree as much as pH 10.5 with out the usage of ionisation or artificial chemical compounds. This water doesn’t fall under a pH of 9 after flavourings have been added, which signifies that added sugar will not be wanted to counteract the acidity that nobody desires.The method has been discovered to have a spread of purposes for delicate drinks, zero alcohol drinks, Cannabidiol (CBD)-infused water and fermented drinks, with the expertise now available to drinks producers.As well as, the drinks created within the analysis additionally confirmed no microbial progress when uncovered to 12 weeks of ambient and accelerated shelf life testing at 20°C and 30°C respectively. These drinks additionally contained lower than 0.1 g of sugar per 100 ml.With the meals and beverage business going through an ongoing problem to cut back sugar, salt and fats throughout all merchandise with out alienating shopper style preferences, analysis of this type means that technically superior options are more and more out there to assist them accomplish that.Concerning the authorDr Ahmed Mohamed is the Director of analysis and growth at WET. He has over 10 years’ expertise in medical, biomedical and stem cell analysis.