Clean label, non-GMO, organic — variety syrups capable of replacing conventional glucose syrups are becoming more attractive to bakers, according to Jim Mitchell, director of R&D, Ciranda, Inc., Hudson, WI. In this exclusive Baking & Snack Q&A, he explains current uses for tapioca and rice syrups.

Baking & Snack: What are some of the latest applications for alternative syrups?

Jim Mitchell: Alternative syrups are being explored in most baking and snack applications as a replacement for more commonly used glucose syrups.

Corn syrup alternatives have been used in hundreds of applications for over two decades. The newest applications are in gluten-free products and in the confection industry.

What are some of the advantages to using these syrups?

Specifically with tapioca syrup, the non-GMO status is appealing to the consumer.

Tapioca syrup tends to be slightly less viscous than corn syrup at the same dextrose equivalent (DE) level which may improve ease of handling for the manufacturer.

Tapioca syrup is available in Ecosocial certified and Organic certified formats as well as conventional forms. There are also advantages in some of the lower conversion syrups when compared to corn based on the residual properties of the starch. For example, a low-DE tapioca syrup tends to form a tack-free film better than corn syrup.

Are there any “special effects” bakers can achieve by employing some of these specialty syrups?

Alternative or specialty syrups act very similar to other glucose syrups so “special effects” are minimal.

One of the special effects would be using the filming property of the low-conversion tapioca or rice syrups. Brush applying to the crust of baked goods creates a high gloss tack-free glaze.

What marketing opportunities are available when bakers use these syrups?

With certain alternative syrups, such as tapioca, there is a greater opportunity to provide a cleaner label with non-GMO or organic certification.