The recent Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago, hundreds of new sweet treats made their debut—but refined sugar was not the only game in town.
Thanks to a number of factors (increasingly health-conscious consumers, rise of diabetes in nations around the globe, rising sugar prices), confectionery and snack makers are exploring use of non-sugar sweeteners in their edibles.
Koochikoo is among Sweets and Snacks exhibitors showing treats without sugar. Their line of sugar-free cookies include monk fruit, a natural sweetener that is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar.
Sally Cox of Koochikoo told ConfectioneryNews that use of monkfruit in the cookies (which come in four different flavors) enables the company to put forth a sugar-free product while still keeping with the company’s mission of delivering organic, natural treats that taste good.
“People want sugar-free items, but they don’t want all those nasty chemicals,” she said. “Our cookies are all natural, contain absolutely no sugar and taste great.”
Mintel analyst Laura Jones recently told BeverageDaily that in addition to high relative cost, monk fruit’s barriers to expansion includes a tendency toward an “off” taste. However, ConfectioneryNews sampled all four varieties of cookies and did not discern any bitterness or odd aftertaste.
In addition to monk fruit, the chips in the Cheerful Chocolatey Chip and Blissful Chocolate Brownies are sweetened with naturally derived stevia.
In the Bobi Bee booth, the Wisconsin-based organic treat company touted the benefits of using organic Manuka honey as a sweetener. Joe Williams told ConfectioneryNews that in addition to delivering a natural sweetening alternative to refined sugar, the company’s Honey Sweet Treat chews also deliver a boost of energy.
“The Honey Sweet Treat is a healthy, delicious way to boost your energy while giving yourself a treat,” he said. Williams added that while the treats contain a bit of sugar, the sugar used is evaporated cane juice rather than refined white sugar, and honey remains the dominant ingredient.
NibMor, a New York-based candy company, showcased its line of chocolate bars and drinks. The products use organic cane and coconut palm sugars, touting the sweeteners as more healthful and planet-friendly than refined sugar.