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Specialty sweetener trehalose

Trehalose is an ideal ingredient for generating exciting market possibilities for your latest product concepts and also for adding new life to existing food and beverage brands. Trehalose, a diglucose sugar found in nature, confers to certain plant and animal cells the ability to survive dehydration for decades and to restore activity soon after rehydration. This observation has led to the use of trehalose as excipient during freeze drying of a variety of products in the pharmaceutical industry and as an ingredient for dried, baked and processed food, as well as a non-toxic cryoprotectant of vaccines and organs for surgical transplants.

It is especially well suited for sweetening nutritional drinks and other energy products used by consumers as part of their daily eating habits. As a multi-functional sugar with nearly half the sweetness of sucrose, trehalose will strongly improve the taste, texture and appeal of your foods and beverages. Trehalose can bring out the best in your products and your processes, enhancing functionality and improving stability in several key ways.

TREHA™ is a registered trademark of Hayashibara Co. Ltd., used under license


Brand: Treha

Category Applications
  • Baked goods
    • Flavor enhancement
    • Sweetness optimization texture
    • Crystallization inhibition
  • Mouthfeel
  • Flavor enhancement
  • Mild sweetness
  • Flavor enhancement 
  • Shelf life
  • Crystallization inhibition
Frozen Foods
  • Stability
  • Cryoprotectant
  • Taste enhancement
  • Ice-cream
    • Texture
    • Spoonability
  • Dairy desserts
    • Flavor enhancement
    • Moisture stabilization
    • Texture
  • Sweetness optimization
  • Stability
  • Shelf life
  • Color preservation
  • Compression agent
  • Excipient
  • Non-hygroscopicity
  • Stabilization


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Trehalose is a naturally occurring, non reducing disaccharide consisting of two glucose molecules linked α, α-1,1.

It has excellent process and finished product stability.

Its mild sweetness, low cariogenicity, low hygroscopicity, high freezing point depression, high glass transition temperature and protein protection properties are all of immense interest to food and pharma technologists. Trehalose is fully caloric and after ingestion is broken down in the body to glucose, but with an even blood glucose response, making it ideally suited for products formulated to provide a natural source of energy for people with any active lifestyle. Treha™ is produced from starch by a proprietary enzymatic process developed by the Hayashibara Company, Okayama, Japan.

[IMAGE:trehalose molecule]

Functional properties

Trehalose can bring out the best in your products and your processes, enhancing functionality and improving stability in several key ways. Trehalose has been shown to provide superior stabilization of proteins and biological systems, protecting against damage caused by desiccation or freezing.

Process stability

Owing to its unique chemical structure, trehalose remains stable under low pH conditions, even at elevated temperatures. Unlike otherdisaccharides it will not readily hydrolyze to its component parts and subsequently it will not take part in Maillard reactions with amino acids and proteins. The high stability of trehalose enables the original product characteristics (flavor and color) to be retained even after heat processing and prolonged storage.

[IMAGE:trehalose process stability graph]

Mild sweetness

With its mild sweetness, trehalose allows the flavor and true enjoyment of your products to come to the forefront. Trehalose is only 45 percent as sweet as sucrose, delivering balanced taste without masking other flavors in your formulations. It is a clean taste profile with no aftertaste and a sweetness profi le that is characterized by a rapid onset of sweetness with comparable persistence to sucrose. Trehalose can be used in food and beverage products in combination with sucrose and other bulk sweeteners to optimize sweetness thus allowing the full flavor of the product to be appreciated.


Trehalose is readily soluble in water. It is characterized by lower solubility at low temperatures but higher solubility than sucrose at high temperatures.

[IMAGE:trehalose solubility graph]

Low hygroscopicity

Crystalline trehalose is stable and remains free-flowing up to 94% relative humidity. It can reduce product caking when blended with other sugars and food ingredients. Food products or components coated with trehalose have enhanced stability, benefiting from the low hygroscopicity of the coating.

High glass transition temperature

Trehalose has a high glass transition temperature compared with other disaccharides. This property, combined with its high process stability and low hygroscopicity, makes trehalose ideal as a protein protectant and ideally suited as a carrier for spray-dried flavors.

Depression of freezing point

Trehalose will depress the freezing point of a product to the same extent as sucrose. It can therefore be used in frozen foods including ice-cream to modify texture whilst providing only mild sweetness.

Reduction of water activity

Trehalose reduces water activity to the same extent as sucrose. It can therefore be used in combination with sucrose to optimize sweetness while maintaining product shelf life.trehalose water activity graph


Nutritional properties

Trehalose is a natural energy source, making it an ideal ingredient for  products designed for active consumers who demand great taste as well   as fuel for their “on the go” lifestyles. This can translate to increased demand for your products among the millions of consumers who are leading busy, robust lives and are requiring more energy than before.

Preliminary research suggests that trehalose, when incorporated as part of a sports beverage system (flavor, CHO, water), may produce lower insulin responses than a glucose-sweetened beverage. Research is ongoing to elucidate the relationship between these metabolic parameters and the potential energy and performance benefits of trehalose in a sports beverage system.

[IMAGE:trehalose plasma insulin levels graph]

Legislation and labeling

Trehalose is approved in over 40 countries worldwide and is in particular approved under the EU Novel Food regulation and the Joint Committee on Food Additives of the World Health Organization/Food and Agricultural Organization (JECFA of WHO/FAO).

A footnote is required as follows – “trehalose is a source of glucose”.

Some Cargill products are only approved for use in certain geographies, end uses, and/or at certain usage levels. It is the customer's responsibility to determine, for a particular geography, that (i) the Cargill product, its use and usage levels, (ii) the customer's product and its use, and (iii) any claims made about the customer's product, all comply with applicable laws and regulations.