In recent years there has been an increasing trend towards healthier and premium confectionery products, aimed at making consumers feel less guilty about the treats they eat. Chocolate for example, has historically had an unhealthy perception by consumers.
There may be increasing recognition that certain chocolate products contain a high quantity of health promoting cocoa flavonols. As consumers worldwide become more health conscious, the demand for health promoting foods and food components is expected to grow. To capitalise on this growth in the functional food market, confectionery manufacturers can develop indulgent products that contain healthier ingredients – with the help of S. Black.
Chocolate does not tend to be readily associated with health, so manufacturers could propose products that give consumers their daily chocolate fix, containing a significant amount of anti-oxidants, vitamins or minerals, but little sugar or fat, reassuring those looking for healthier alternatives.
Antioxidants are increasingly highlighted in chocolate confectionery. The Vita® line of products can deliver the antioxidant equivalent to a 5-a-day serving of fruit using whole fruit powders and extracts. The powders contain fibres and can be blended right in with any sugar or protein powders, adding colours, flavours and fibre to finished confections. They are dried to preserve the phytonutrient content and standardised to contain specific levels of phytonutrients. Being encapsulated in a fat matrix is actually good for stability of antioxidants as they are less likely to oxidize than if they are in a water matrix. The biggest challenge is heat and making sure they are not exposed to very high temperatures. So, if they are added to chocolate as it is cooling (24-26°C), that will not be detrimental to stability.
Inulin is used increasingly in foods because it has excellent nutritional and functional characteristics. It ranges from completely bland to subtly sweet and can be used to replace sugar, fat and flour. Inulin offers a significant benefit in this respect because it only contains a third to a quarter of the of the food energy of sugar or other carbohydrates, and a sixth to a ninth of the food energy of fat. Frutafit® inulin is a perfect bulking agent for the production of sugar reduced chocolate confectionery products. To produce a sugar reduced chocolate, combinations of bulking agents are often used. The balance of sweetness between Polyol and bulking agent is most important for flavour and helps to minimise the difference in sweetness from sucrose. Chocolate enriched with Frutafit® inulin can be processed exactly like traditional chocolate, and in addition, increased the fibre content of the chocolate.
For chocolate that is low in sugar and high in flavour, SymLife Sweet gives a sweeter taste with an improvement in mouth feel. Adding SymLife Sweet also rounds out the flavour profile of cocoa.
Apart from reduced fat and sugar, healthy confectionery products can mean the addition of proteins, vitamins, omega 3 etc. These ingredients tend to decrease the flavour that one would associate with the standard version of the same confection. The Butter Buds® range of natural dairy concentrates help to add flavour, body, mouth feel and dairy richness that is usually lost when taking butter, cream or fat in general out of a formula. They’re also healthy; at typical application levels, they contribute less than 0.1% fat. In addition, the Butter Buds products can help to mask off-notes from vitamins or sweeteners added to confectionery. The natural flavour or extract declaration is also very much in line with today’s consumer trends.
Manufacturers can develop products that target certain age groups. The over 55’s make dietary choices based on helping prevent future health problems. Omega 3 encapsulated powders are suitable for a wide range of applications, especially baked goods and confectionery, and can help to protect against cardiovascular disease.
Consumers not as keen on sweet flavours could be in favour of more dark and bitter flavours – the HACO coffee range is particularly suitable to deliver the natural and authentic flavour of coffee for chocolates. The coffees have provenance and a triple certification – Fairtrade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance – appealing to consumer’s environmental and ethical concerns.
In summary, consumers are demanding satisfying products with added benefits, combining taste and pleasure with well-being and health. S. Black’s ingredient innovations are becoming key components for more indulgent confectionery, which have an additional association with health.
S. Black Ltd
T: 01992 825555