Healthy confectionery special dedition

Confectionery’s dilemma: ‘There’s more to sugar than just a sweet taste’

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages
Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Healthy eating sugar alternative

The World Health Organisation (WHO) expects type 2 diabetes to increase by 55% in the next 20 years - so it is crucial that confectionery companies are aware of its sugar consumption guidelines.

Sugar has become public enemy number one in many countries with governments setting sugar taxes to restrict advertising in confectionery to children, along with introducing new limits on the amount of added sugar in products.

With high sugar intake linked to an increased risk of illnesses including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dental cavities, the dilemma for chocolate and candy makers is formulating alternatives because sugar is not only used to give a product a delicious taste, it is also important for its texture.

Puratos USA has recently launched a new reduced-sugar chocolate made with chicory root fibre instead of sugar to its Belcolade Selection range.

The company claimed its new chocolate has 40% less sugar than conventional chocolate and offers a balanced flavour with bright, fruity and smooth roasted cocoa notes. It can be used in a wide range of applications, from truffles and tablets to cakes and brownies.

In the world of patisserie and dessert finished goods, sugar has an important function. It does not just give a product it’s delicious taste, sugar does a lot more. That means we have to be innovative. Before we start reducing the sugar, we have to carefully consider how to compensate for these effects with another approach or ingredient​,” said Puratos USA.

Puratos’s Belcolade Selection sugar-reduced chocolate is also made with sustainably sourced cocoa beans from Puratos’ Cacao-Trace programme, which uses fermentation techniques to produce chocolate.

Staying in the North American market, Blommer Chocolate Company now offers Lyra, a reduced-sugar milk chocolate formulation that conforms to the standard of identity for chocolate.

Unlike many other reduced-sugar chocolates, Lyra has no alternative sweeteners or bulking agents and contains only sugar, chocolate liqueur, cocoa butter, milk, soy lecithin and vanilla.

One of the challenges for manufacturers is that the legal definitions of chocolate limit sweeteners to milk sugar and table sugar, or sucrose, which poses a challenge in developing a reduced-sugar milk chocolate that meets the criteria.

Blommer said it has developed a formula that is approximately 50% cocoa mass. A 30g serving of Lyra milk chocolate has 12 grams of sugar, compared with 16 grams of sugar in a 30g serving of the leading milk chocolate.

Its new formula may be used for enrobing, panning and moulding, pairing well with fruits and nuts, the company said in its release notes.

Sugar reduction is now an important part of consumers’ health and wellbeing lifestyle, and the demand for healthy products –containing more grains and fruits and less salt, sugar or fat  - or their wellbeing, like plant-based or gluten-free products and products with a clean and clear label, means manufacturers have to do more than simply decreasing the amount of sugar in products.

As Puratos USA says – “There’s more to sugar than just a sweet taste!​”

WHO sugar guidelines

WHO recommends a maximum of 5 to 10 teaspoons of free sugars​ per day. It also recommends reducing free sugar intake​ at all stages of life to under 10% of physical calories to reduce the risk of unhealthy weight gain and dental caries. This equals a maximum of 50g of sugar​ per day.

Read more:  WHO Guidelines: Sugars Intake for Adults and Children