Daintree Estates taps 'world first' whole sugarcane sweetener to halve sugar in chocolate

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

Daintree Estates' latest launch Fyto the Frog milk chocolate contains novel Whole Sugarcane Sweetener. Photo: DE
Daintree Estates' latest launch Fyto the Frog milk chocolate contains novel Whole Sugarcane Sweetener. Photo: DE

Related tags: Sugar

Australian firm Daintree Estates is using a sweetener combo derived from sugarcane for its new milk chocolate range Fyto that it claims can half total sugar content.

The company - set up by former managing director of Cadbury Schweppes Australia, Barry Kitchen, in 2011 - has its own plantation in North Queensland and previously developed the first single origin Australian chocolate.

This month it introduced child-friendly chocolate range Fyto the Frog, which contains Australian cocoa and is sweetened with a Whole Sugarcane Sweetener, ​made up of raw sugar, sugarcane fiber (Phytocel) and a sugarcane extract (Phytolin) all from Australia.

Barry Kitchen was MD of Cadbury Schweppes Asia and Australia from 1983 to 2003. Photo: DE

From Australian sugarcane

"It's the first chocolate in the world to have this new Whole Sugarcane Sweetener in it,"​ Barry Kitchen, chairman of Daintree, told ConfectioneryNews.

"It's pulling all the components of the sugarcane plant that mills and refineries take so much cost to separate when they chase just white refined sugar. We felt it was time to put them all back together again."

According to Kitchen, most industrially produced milk chocolate contains around 45% to 50% total sugars from white refined sugar and milk powder.

"What we've got down to is half that,”​ said Kitchen.

The glue: Phytolin

The trademarked Whole Sugarcane Sweetener used by Daintree is bound together by a sugarcane extract named Phytolin, which is extracted naturally.

cocoa growing in austrlaia Daintree
Daintree ferments and dries cocoa at its North Queensland 20-30 hectare plantation. Its farm has average annual yields of around two metric tons of dried beans per hectare, which is above the global average. Daintree also sources from third party Australian cocoa farmers. Photo: DE

Phytolin is a patented extract developed by Australian natural flavor company The Product Makers. Kitchen is head of The Product Makers’ bioactives division.

He said the sweetener combo used in Fyto was ideal for chocolate.

Upping fiber content

"We can put it in beverages and we have done that, but the minute you put it in water the fiber breaks apart. You still get the benefits of the raw sugar and phytolin, but the fiber becomes disentangled.

“In food or chocolate it stays together and you get the benefit of at least consuming some fiber,”​ he said

Kitchen said he was very open to discussing how other chocolate companies could use the sweetener and it could be done at an industrial-scale.

Cost in use

But how does cost in use compare to refined white sugar?

Daintree Estates' classic single origin Australian chocolate range. Photo: DE

Kitchen said less than 0.5% of product weight needed to come from Phytolin, which costs as much as a natural flavor.

He said the fiber is more expensive than refined white sugar, but allows companies to reduce total sugars.

Daintree will donate 1% of proceeds from Fyto the Frog sales to conservation organization Rainforest Rescue. Fyto will be sold in supermarkets, chemists, health food stores and online for around A$1.20 (US $0.94). The 15 g product contains 34% cocoa.

Premium NPD

Daintree Estates is also continuing to innovate in premium chocolate.

"We have relaunched under our new branding and logo some really upmarket chocolates in terms of Australian origin,”​ said Kitchen.

Daintree produces four Australian wine-fused chocolates: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. Photo: DE

Daintree has introduced a range of chocolates containing Australian wines. The products will retail for around AU $10 (US $7.81) for an 80 g block and will also come in a smaller 40 g block.

Daintree sweetens its premium products with raw sugar rather than the sweetener combo in its Fyto range.

But Kitchen said: "We hope we will be putting this sweetener in all of our chocolates down the track."

Daintree is focusing on distribution in the Australian market for all its products, but plans to explore export markets in future.



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