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Fudge Kitchen taps Zùsto sweetener for sugar-free brittle

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By Oliver Nieburg+

Last updated on 22-Mar-2017 at 11:17 GMT2017-03-22T11:17:37Z

Fudge Kitchen using a fiber-sweetner mix named Zùsto for first in a planned free-from range. Photo: Fudge Kitchen.
Fudge Kitchen using a fiber-sweetner mix named Zùsto for first in a planned free-from range. Photo: Fudge Kitchen.

UK firm Fudge Kitchen is using a sweetener created recently in Belgium for a sugar-free peanut brittle launching this week.

The product will be the first in a planned free-from range for Fudge Kitchen that will use Zùsto.

Zùsto is a mix of non-digestible, water soluble fibers derived from corn and chicory, that sweetens products and provides bulk.

It was created by namesake firm Zùsto, a Belgian company founded by former employees of a major sugar firm.

'It's about inclusivity'

Sian Holt, managing director of Fudge Kitchen, told ConfectioneryNews her company’s sugar-free peanut brittle complements the sugar original and targets those with food allergies.

Company history

Sian Holt, MD of Fudge Kitchen

Fudge Kitchen began as Jim Garrahy’s Fudge Kitchen in Blackpool in 1983. Holt acquired the company in 1995 and added seven Fudge Kitchen own stores in Bath, York, Cambridge, Canterbury, Windsor, Edinburgh and Oxford. The company expanded into wholesale in 2012 with its Devilishly Different Gourmet Butter Fudge range

"It's about inclusivity really - it's not a reaction to the whole sugar debate,” she said.

Most of Fudge Kitchen's products are already gluten-free and it has some dairy-free products.

"Sugar free has always been the biggest challenge," said Holt. She said the company had received many requests from customers for a range suitable for diabetics.

However, it has been tough to find a sugar replacement that sweetens the product and provides weight.

"Maltitol in the volume that we would need to replace the bulk is just not viable and stevia just doesn't taste good in those volumes,” said Holt.

Zùsto: Quarter of the calories

The managing director – who has led the company since 1995 - said Fudge Kitchen decided on Zùsto because it did not impart an aftertaste and resembled sugar’s sweetness more closely compared to other sweeteners.

Zùsto contains of quarter of the calories of granulated sugar and has a low glycaemic content, according to its developers

It is comprised mainly of plant-based fibers and polydextrose. The sweetness comes from a blend of sweeteners, including around 0.1% of high intensity sweetener sucralose and others such as isomalt, steviol glycosides, erythritol, depending on local country laws.

A match for sugar?

Fudge Kitchen’s MD claimed Zùsto matched sugar more than many other sweeteners, but added it behaved differently.

"There is a slight difference because of the way sugar caramelizes - that's what gives [the sugar-free peanut brittle] a slightly different color," said Holt, adding that Zusto required a different cooking temperature to sugar brittle.

"But I think we've ended up with a product that if you have a bowl of sugar-free brittle you could happily eat it even if you wanted sugar," she said.

Price and stockists

Fudge Kitchen’s sugar-free Peanut Brittle is launching at trade fair IFE, taking place in London this week.

It comes in a 150g pack for a recommended retail price of £5.99 ($7.49). The product will be sold initially on Fudge Kitchen's website and it is hoping to secure wider distribution.

Fudge Kitchen products have listings at retailers such as Waitrose, Selfridges and Lakeland.

"I think there will be some interest from those sections, but it's a bit early to say," said Holt.

The company is also discussing international distribution for its sugar-free brittle with Belgium-based company Zùsto.

Fudge Kitchen hopes to add further sugar-free products to its range using Zùsto.

"We haven't quite got the fudge right yet using Zùsto, said Holt. "The reason for that is not taste - it's texture. That one is going to take a bit longer to crack."

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