Cargill’s sweetener experts have further enhanced its reduced calorie chocolate prototype that was shown at FIE in November 2009, with the commercial product set to hit the market at the end of 2011, said the company.
Chocolate with a 30 per cent calorie reduction, said Cargill, has been achieved through the use of a patented blend of sweeteners, including its zero-calorie bulk sweetener, Zerose erythritol, enabling confectioners to use the EU-approved reduced calorie claim on products using the chocolate.
Cargill added that the reduction is “equivalent to a saving of up to 160 calories for a 100g chocolate bar.”
Erythritol, a bulk sweetener polyol that occurs at low levels in some fruits and fermented foods, contains a variety of benefits, including low-calorie content, low GI index and a low laxative effect. European Commission directive 2008/100/EC – published in October 2008 - established that the energy conversion value of the polyol is zero calories.
Brigitte Bayart, marketing manager at Cargill’s cocoa & chocolate, told ConfectioneryNews.com that a lot of taste development work has taken place at its R&D centres in Belgium – Vilvoorde and Mouscron - on the model shown at FIE in Frankfurt last year, with the additional enabling the chocolate to be use in cereal bars and biscuits.
“Chocolate bars are the main application, but our reduced calorie chocolate could also be used in other confectionery categories, well as other applications outside confectionery,” she added.
As an alternative to the reduced calorie claim, Cargill said the chocolate can also be used as an ingredient so that biscuit, cereal bar or snack makers can reduce the calorie level per portion.
Or alternatively, said the company, manufacturers can incorporate more of the chocolate into a recipe for the same calorie amount, where 99 calories per portion is the target maximum.
When questioned about how the combination with other sweeteners does not negate the 30 per cent calorie reduction that erythritol affords, Bayart said she could not disclose the details of the formulation on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.
The marketing manager maintains that the innovation is applicable to the high volume chocolate product sector.
“With rising levels of obesity, and consumers wanting to follow a healthy lifestyle, we feel that our innovation, which is new to the European market, addresses the needs of the mainstream consumer.
A recent Innova report detailing consumer categories ranked ‘calorie controller’ at number five of those groups it identified,” commented Bayart.
Cargill is currently engaging with manufacturers in terms of bringing the calorie reduced chocolate product to market late next year, she added.