Wholesome Sweeteners philosophy is focused on offering the US consumer high quality products that are produced both sustainably and with an emphasis on social responsibility. In short, they are made with the highest respect both for the environment and the farmers and workers who made them possible. Wholesome only markets products with raw materials that meet our exacting standards for organic integrity, social responsibility, food safety, taste and product quality.
The organic blue agave plants are grown by hard-working Mexican farmers and harvested in a variety of conditions. The organic agave syrup manufacturing gives these farmers an alternate buyer to the dominant tequila factories in the Jalisco region that are the main purchasers of the blue agave plants. Therefore, it gives these farmers the opportunity to earn higher returns from their labor along with an incentive to embrace organic farming and agriculture.
After growing for 5 to 7 years, a mature blue agave stands 6 to 8 feet tall and its “sugar” is at its peak. The blue agave’s nectar is held in the pina (so called because it resembles a pineapple after the leaves have been trimmed away). Wax in the blue agave’s long leaves gives the species its bluish color. Farmers hand-cut the mature blue agave with a simple razor-sharp blade. The field trimmings are left behind to restore the soil and reduce erosion, and the fibrous blue agave pina is taken to the mill where it is pressed and its inulin-rich juice is collected and cleaned.
Wholesome Sweeteners organic agave has always come from the blue agave plant because we know it produces the best-tasting agave syrup. Other agave nectars are also marketed in the US from other plant sources. Wholesome sources certified organic blue agave nectar from several high quality producers to ensure continuous supply and quality. In order to guarantee the products’ safety and authenticity, Wholesome conducts exhaustive audits to ensure these suppliers are producing to our high standards. Therefore, Wholesome Sweeteners has full confidence in our sources and the integrity of our supply chain.
The initial blue agave juice is dark in color. It is gently heated and physically filtrated through membranes to remove extraneous materials, lower the color and lessen the mineral content, which can affect the flavor profile. The filtered syrup is then cooled in sealed tanks using cold water pumped through spiral tubes. Inulin, a dietary fiber made up of complex carbohydrates, is not sweet by nature. Heating (or hydrolyzing) the inulin transforms it into the sweet nectar. When making the light blue agave nectar, the juice is heated to 161ºF (72ºC). In this simple process, the inulin becomes fructose, a slowly metabolizing simple sugar found in many fruits and vegetables. The processing steps are obviously quite limited because of the required compliance with organic standards.
Producing a high-quality Raw Amber agave at temperatures significantly lower than those used for Light Blue Agave Nectar is no easy feat. It requires long processing times and closely monitoring the process and sugar levels to obtain its deep color and flavor, while processing at low temperatures. This raw production process, along with minimum filtration of the syrup, helps retain some of the natural minerals, and give our product its unique features of a darker color and fuller flavor.
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave Nectar on a solids basis is about 75% Fructose, 20% Dextrose and the balance is inulin and mannitol. It is a delicious sweetener that does not spike blood sugar in the way sucrose (from sugar beet or cane) or glucose (from corn) does. The science that supports that is the glycemic index.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), despite its name, is not necessarily high in fructose at all really. HFCS is just corn syrup (glucose being the major sugar), with a higher proportion of fructose in it to make it sweeter and less viscous. To produce HFCS, the glucose/fructose ratio is controlled to meet food manufacturers’ needs for bulking and viscosity. The high level of glucose is why HFCS spikes blood sugar even more than cane sugar (sucrose).
Agave syrup also differs from HFCS in that it taps the naturally occurring fructose available in the agave inulin. HFCS, in contrast, is a highly manufactured product that is chemically produced from genetically modified corn. These farming practices we believe are unsustainable, utilizing government-subsidized factory farming methods.
Given the product attributes and processing we have outlined, portraying organic blue agave syrup and HFCS as the same does not stand up to any real scrutiny. Many consumers and quality food manufacturers find organic blue agave syrup an excellent natural and organic alternative to beet/cane sugar, corn syrups or artificial sweetening products. However, it should be enjoyed like any similar product, in moderation, and as part of a balanced diet.
If we can offer any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Chief Executive Officer, Wholesome Sweeteners
Customer Service: 800.680.1896 · www.OrganicSugars.biz
Fair Trade Certified(tm) Organic and Natural Sweeteners