It is a sweet syrup made from starch extracted from grains and vegetables. It has a similar composition to table sugar which is made from sugar cane or beet – they both consist of glucose and fructose, albeit in different proportions.
Table sugar consists of 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Glucose-fructose syrups made in the EU typically contain 20, 30 or 42% of fructose and the rest is glucose. A fascinating thing about the glucose-fructose syrup is that when extracting it from starch, the starch producers can regulate the amount of fructose in it to make the syrup as sweet as table sugar or less sweet, if needed.
If the glucose-fructose syrup is made to be as sweet as table sugar, it is often used as an alternative. It is easier to use glucose-fructose syrups than table sugar in some foods because these syrups are liquid unlike table sugar, which is crystallised. Thus, they are easier to blend with other ingredients in creams, ice creams, drinks and other liquid or semi-liquid foods.
In the EU glucose-fructose syrups are labelled as such in the ingredients list on a product pack.