Can chocolate really taste the same with reduced sugar?

Aug 20 2018

In 2017, Public Health England (PHE) proposed that the food and drink industry reduce sugar levels in their products by 20% by 2020 in a bid to tackle the growing concerns of child obesity. Yet, more than a year on, food and drink manufacturers have failed to meet the sugar reduction targets, with only cereal, sweet spreads and yoghurt hitting the 5% suggested mark.

Some major confectionery manufacturers are working towards introducing products with reduced sugar content, but it’s not an easy process. There are many factors which have to be taken into consideration including the taste, texture and appearance that sugars provide to products, thus new scientific and technological processes need to be developed in order to reduce sugar levels.

Professor Francesco Rubino, chair of metabolic and bariatric surgery at King’s College London, has said in previous discussions regarding sugar reduction that “if you ask the food industry to change their products to reduce calories, you don’t know exactly how they will accomplish that.” Back in March 2018, Nestle announced the launch of their ‘Wowsomes’, a white chocolate bar with 30% less sugar than its usual Milkybar brand. Nestle’s team took just over a year to make the scientific and technological breakthrough of their new structured sugar which was achieved by spraying sugar, milk and water into warm air and drying the mixture.

But reducing sugar is not an easy task because sugar is responsible for much of the sweetness and texture in a chocolate bar, says Fatemeh Khadem, senior technical services manager, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. Added to this are the increased manufacturing costs when using any sweetener other than cane sugar. Studies are showing that manufacturers are starting to add a functional ingredient like fibre when reducing the sugar content of a chocolate product.

Using extra fibre is the case with Mondelez International as they have, this month, revealed details of their own Cadbury Dairy Milk bar with 30% less sugar, coming in 2019. Cadbury first announced their intention of creating a reduced sugar bar 11 years ago, so the whole process does take time, research, money and new technology before any PHE target can truly be put into practice.

Mondelez says their team successfully replaced the physical functionality of the sugar in solid chocolate in a way that preserves the structure of chocolate and also stays true to the unique texture and taste profile of Cadbury Dairy Milk.

chocolate bars (1)-670

 

President of Mondelez International Northern Europe, Glenn Caton added that “there are two things consumers won’t compromise on: taste and value”, so their “iconic” bar will definitely not be phased out, but other reduced variants may be introduced if this trial proves successful. At the end of the day food and drink manufacturers need time to create new formulas and ingredient options, as Steve Brine, public health minister agrees that “we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge.”

Only time will tell if these reduced sugar versions of our much-loved classic confectionery will satisfy the consumers’ sweet tooth! Here at Ragus we supply many of the leading chocolate manufacturers with their pure sugars for taste, texture and appearance; including fine raw sugars which provide colour and flavouring as well as granulated sugars for bulking, sweetness and preserving properties.

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HEATWAVE IN EUROPE HIKES UP PRICES

Aug 13 2018

While it may be the summer holidays and parents and children are enjoying the sunshine,
farmers, brewers and food and drink manufacturers are feeling a different kind of heat.
With the continuous heatwave bearing down on Europe during the past few months comes
concerns of rising cost pressures for numerous agricultural cereal growers. Lack of rains has
meant that the dry, hot weather conditions are destroying crops all over Europe, thus
driving prices through the roof as crops become limited.

There is a shortage of malting barley on the continent which has pushed prices up by two
thirds to a five year high. According to a report in The Financial Times, since May, the price
of the crop has risen to €230 per tonne. Plus, latest reports from Mintec reveal that winter
barley crop will drop in France, Poland and Germany; the latter of which could fall 18% year
on year. The UK won’t be hit as hard says the CEO of the British Beer and Pub Association
because we are ‘a net exporter of malting barley (thus) we enjoy a degree of self-
sufficiency.”

Wheat fields are being destroyed by the searing heat and dry conditions, thus prices are
rising with the worry of further damages to crops. In a recent interview, Andree Defois,
Strategie Grains head analyst said, “the situation is catastrophic in Northern Europe.”
Germany, France, Scandinavia and Sweden have all suffered; Sweden’s wheat crop has seen
a fall of 40% so far. British farmers are as yet to see the results, but fear that wheat crops
will fall to a five-year low.

Beet sugar being grown; Ragus supports all its farmers and producers with advice and support on how to optimise efficiencies, and promote the cause of sustainable sugar production

 

Sugar beet farmers in the UK are also battling these baking heat conditions; in East Anglia
the increasing temperatures are damaging both cereal, vegetable and sugar beet crops.
Farmers in the region are bracing themselves for marked drops in yields and Robin Limb, an
Agricultural consultant, has suggested in a recent interview with East Anglian Daily Times,
that yields could fall from a high of 80t/ha last year, to 60t/ha this year.

The UK has seen price increases in both fruit and vegetable too, as farmers struggle to grow
products with the increasing temperatures. Parts of England have seen no rainfall for almost
two months and many plants stop growing in temperatures that exceed 25C. The
Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board have announced that this is the driest run
up to harvest in 80 years.

The hot weather continues to bring misery to other farming industries too, the lack of rains
in the tea growing regions in Kenya are affecting the quality of the crops, which in turn is
sending the prices up. Alongside this the dry spell is hiking up rapeseed oil prices too!

Ragus continuously follow all the news and trends in the food and drink industry and we are
keen to share that news with our customers and website visitors www.ragus.co.uk; we are
always happy to answer any questions and are always open to any pure sugars as
ingredients enquiries; contact sales@ragus.co.uk

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EU sugar beet production on a high!

Aug 06 2018

According to newly published research presented to the International Sugar Organisation (IOS), in the recent past, productivity gains spanning the cane sugar sector have been generally flat.

However, in the leading EU sugar producing countries, sugar output per hectare is higher on average, than the average of top cane sugar producers.

Also, since the millennium, EU sugar yields have grown significantly; 32% in Netherlands, 31% in UK, 28% in Denmark, 27% in Germany, 22% in Belgium and 9% in France.

On average, the EU beet sugar producers harvest 3 tonnes sugar/ha than the leading cane sugar producers.

The study by Gudoshnikov1 concluded that “since 2011/12, the average sugar yields in the beet sector have been consistently higher than those in the cane sector.”

More than 130 countries around the globe currently produce either sugar cane or sugar beet; within this figure, only 10 countries produce sugar from both beet and cane crops.

Beet sugar being grown; Ragus supports all its farmers and producers with advice and support on how to optimiseefficiencies, and promote the cause of sustainable sugar production

 

On average, 80% of global sugar production comes from sugar cane, leaving beet making up the other 20%.

Of the 10 countries which dual produce from both cane and beet, Brazil is the largest sugar producers, followed by India, EU, China, Thailand and USA.  Brazil alone accounts for almost 25% of the world’s sugar.

The largest sugar cane producer is Brazil, followed by India and Thailand.  The largest beet sugar producers are EU-28, followed by Russian Fed. & USA.

Mature beets contain 17% sugar by weight, whereas a ripened cane has around 15 to 20% sugar.

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