Frusano is a German food company that is dedicated to creating high quality low fructose and fructose-free food products.
Their large product range includes chocolates, desserts, jams, spreads, beverages, sauces, pastries, snacks, and cereals; 80 of their products are low FODMAP.
FODMAPs & IBS
FODMAP is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These technical sounding terms refer to the types of carbohydrates that we seek to reduce when following the low FODMAP diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Fructose is the monosaccharide that we want to keep track of when following a low FODMAP diet, which is why Frusano products are of great interest to our FODMAP community. Fructose is often found in ingredients such as apples, pears, sweet potato, and honey, to name a few, but it is also found in many finished products. Being able to source prepared products that are low fructose or fructose-free, lactose-free and/or low FODMAP is a game-changer for many.
A German Company Founded in 2006
Frusano was founded in 2006 with the goal of creating and offering specialty food products for people who suffer from hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI), or from fructose malabsorption. If HFI or fructose malabsorption are a concern for you, then Frusano is a company that you should definitely become familiar with.
Fructose-Free, Lactose-Free, Gluten-Free, Low FODMAP & More
All of Frusano’s products are low fructose or fructose-free, and lactose-free. Most of them are also gluten free and organic, and there are many vegan choices as well. Their 80 products that are low FODMAP have been lab tested; they also have products certified low FODMAP by both Monash University, as well as FODMAP Friendly.
In addition, any of Frusano products that are labeled “low-fructose” contain even less than the thresholds required to be considered low FODMAP.
We sat down with Ulf Herrmann, Founder and Managing Director to learn more about this German company.
Dédé Wilson: Ulf, I am so glad we are talking with you. While the low FODMAP diet looks at several different carbohydrates that can trigger IBS symptoms, for many folks they know that fructose is a specific issue. Let’s first have you introduce us to your brand. Give us an overview of Frusano.
Ulf Herrman: Frusano’s objective is to guarantee that those with food intolerances can keep enjoying their most favorite food without worrying about any uncomfortable symptoms. Our large range is specially designed to cover several food intolerances, including fructose, lactose and FODMAPs.
I was diagnosed with fructose malabsorption in February of 2005 and found myself facing a wall of problems: there weren’t many fructose-free products; the offer of foods for food intolerant people was very small. Since there wasn’t any supplier for these foods, I decided to be proactive and founded Frusano.
All Frusano products are produced in the most natural way, most of them are organic certified. The products are 100% fructose and lactose free, free from sugar replacements, like polyols, and free from polysaccharides. We use glucose syrup and dextrose as sweeteners (ed note: which happen to be low FODMAP).
You have so much to offer the FODMAP community! Individuals who are following the low FODMAP diet are trying to eliminate, or at least monitor and gauge, fructose, lactose, and polyol ingestion and here you have a line of products that are developed with these components in mind – by not including them.
In our conversations you have explained that your products were low FODMAP even before the diet was introduced publicly.
Ulf: Frusano’s products have always been fructose and lactose free, free of sugar substitutes and free of indigestible polysaccharides. In other words, free of the very food groups that are known to cause FODMAP intolerance. Frusano pursued this 15 years ago, when the FODMAP diet did not even exist.
Lab Testing For FODMAPs – Frusano’s Commitment
Let’s talk about how you determine that your products are low FODMAP. You have an Organic Milk Chocolate lab tested and certified low FODMAP by Monash University, and an Organic Strawberry Rhubarb Spread lab tested and certified low FODMAP by FODMAP Friendly – but that still leaves 80 products that you have lab tested and have determined to be low FODMAP.
We know the thresholds put forth by the certifiers and we have lab tested these products independently through a lab in Germany. Our products that are low FODMAP are below the FODMAP thresholds of our certified products.
Your certified low FODMAP milk chocolate is gluten-free, lactose-free and histamine-free. Tell us more about this chocolate from a FODMAP perspective, and also touch on the fact that it contains dairy yet is lactose-free.
Ulf: Dextrose and maltose give our milk chocolate its light sweetness. A combination of high-quality cocoa and lactose-free milk, this smooth, organic whole milk chocolate melts on the tongue. Keep a close eye on yours – it’s not just popular among people with fructose or lactose intolerance.
The certified Organic Milk Chocolate is the base for all our products which contain milk chocolate, so, the Mini bars, the rice crispies, the Santa and Easter chocolate products are low FODMAP, too.
Holiday products! I need no excuse to eat chocolate, but for some it is more of a special treat and the holidays are a perfect time to indulge – especially if we know the formula will be easy on our digestion and tailored to our intolerances.
Your Organic Strawberry Rhubarb Spread is low FODMAP and appropriate for those who are fructose intolerant. It is gluten-free, lactose-free and this product is vegan, as well. Tell us more about this spread and how you chose it to be lab tested for FODMAPs.
Ulf: When we were debating about which products we would like to have certified we were always looking for unique products and as far as we are aware of, our Strawberry Rhubarb Spread is the only spread featuring those flavors that is low fodmap certified.
And then you have your line of spreads: Red Currant, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Tayberry, Calamansi, Sea Buckthorn and a recently launched Papaya – and all of these have been lab tested and are low FODMAP. I cannot wait to try these in our Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars or our Low FODMAP Thumbprint Cookies.
Explaining Glucose Syrup
Glucose syrup is used in many of your products and can be low fructose and low FODMAP, but there is a lot of confusion for the layperson around “glucose syrup” as a label ingredient from a few different perspectives. What is it made from, and does the definition and content of “glucose syrup” differ country to country?
Ulf: We use a fructose-free glucose syrup, which differs from high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), and is also ideal for allergy sufferers, as it does not contain gluten. Glucose syrup is usually produced by enzymatic degradation of starch.
In general, Frusano products always clearly indicate the exact sugar content – for every customer it is therefore clear how much fructose is in the product at most, and how high the glucose content is.
Just to remind folks, for the low FODMAP diet we look at the ratio of glucose to fructose. As long as the glucose is a higher ratio than the fructose, then the item is low FODMAP – but this information is not normally shown on labels. How does one tell whether glucose syrup contains fructose – and in what ratio?
Ulf: In a normal food product, it is generally very difficult to see what the sugar composition is. The nutritional value table only shows how much sugar is contained in total.
In the list of ingredients, you sometimes see a fructose-glucose syrup (ed. note: this means fructose is in a higher ratio to glucose), or even a high fructose corn syrup.
Glucose-fructose syrup consists essentially of the two simple sugars: glucose and fructose. In Germany, the fructose content in glucose-fructose syrup is usually between 9 and 35%, while the glucose content is 30 to 45%.
If the fructose content exceeds 50%, fructose-glucose syrup is present. In the US, there are two variants of glucose-fructose syrup or fructose-glucose syrup. Both are called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). One variant has a fructose content of 55% (HFCS 55) and the other has a fructose content of 42% (HFCS 42).
Thank you for the clarifications. What does pure glucose syrup taste like?
It tastes sweet, but a bit less sweet than sucrose. Fructose (ed note: which along with glucose creates sucrose) is known to have a strong sweetening power.
Frusano’s Most Popular Products
What are some of your most popular products? You have quite a wide range.
Chocolates, different sauces like ketchup, sweets like gummi bears, drinks, spreads, biscuits pastries, sweetening products, cereals, snacks, desserts.
Our range has more than 90 different products – the great majority are low FODMAP.
I love the fact that you have, and tout, your full transparency approach. Frusano offers a list of all ingredients and provides full nutritional information about all contained sugars, including low residual content of fructose, sucrose, sorbitol and lactose in every product description. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is for us when we research a food product and cannot find ingredient details. This is a breath of fresh air! Your customers must respond so favorably to this.
Frusano was founded in 2006 to provide special food products for people who suffer from hereditary fructose intolerance (HFI) or from fructose malabsorption. Many manufacturers and distributors do not publish the fructose and sucrose content of their products, or they incorrectly label their products as “fructose-free”: we have found obviously fructose-containing products such as honey advertised as “fructose-free”. This creates uncertainty and frustration for consumers who require a fructose-free product.
This is so frustrating to hear about a product containing honey and labeled as fructose-free. Companies like yours make it easier for the consumer – and we are always reminding those following the low FODMAP diet that they do need to study and become a savvy consumer for their own health and safety. Not every brand will be as helpful as Frusano!
Ulf: Frusano uses neither granulated sugar, nor artificial sweeteners, nor sugar alcohols, but exclusively dextrose and fructose-free glucose syrup.
The idea behind Frusano is that we take care to provide low fructose, sucrose and sorbitol content, as well lactose-free and gluten-free information, in all products; we tell you exactly what’s in them.
Our customers are very happy about this transparency, and we get very good feedback about it.
Where You Can Buy Frusano Products
Currently you are already a market leader in Germany, but also for the Spanish speaking market, which is huge. The German part makes sense, given where you are located. How did the Spanish market become a large customer?
Ulf: We have a partner in Spain who started purchasing Frusano products for their daughter who was diagnosed with fructose malabsorption. After a certain time being a Frusano consumer they decided to set a distribution company for the Spanish market and offer the Frusano products.
We also have a similar story in United Kingdom and The Netherlands. Fructose free products are hard to find, so, usually these personal stories which are turning into business opportunities seem to be quite successful.
Where can folks find your products?
Ulf: Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America
The countries mentioned above are the most relevant for Frusano, however, from our online shop, www.frusano.com/shop, we ship worldwide. We have loyal Frusano customers everywhere in the globe.