ISM and ProSweets 2023: Focus on healthy snacking and sweets for “permissible indulgence”
26 Apr 2023 --- As one of the key trends identified by the trade show, numerous exhibitors were showcasing the health aspects of their products, such as sugar-free, gluten-free, high in proteins, fiber-rich, added vitamins or minerals, low fat or low calories.
Manufacturers respond to the growing consumer demand for healthy and natural ingredients in sweets and snacks. FoodIngredientsFirst dives into product offers and trends on the show floor.
“Overall, consumers are eating about the same or a little more chocolate than the year before and the main reason for this is because of indulgence; they want an indulgent treat,” explains Harbinder Maan, associate director of trade marketing and stewardship at the Almond Board of California, based on the organization’s consumer research.
She adds consumers find almonds are ideal ingredients for chocolate bars, as they believe the nuts “bring a healthy halo and permissible indulgence to the bars.”
Israeli food tech company DouxMatok, showcased its incredo sugar at the show, a sugar-based sugar reduction solution. Shiri Ranot, the company’s global marketing director & brand partnerships, explains this ingredient helps brands “healthify their products” while it does not affect their flavor profile.
The company changes how sugar is crystallized, making it more efficient as it dissolves faster and reaches sweet taste receptors. With that, manufacturers can reduce sugar content by 30 and 50% in chocolate, bakery products, bars and gummies.
Overconsumption of sugar is an issue, says Ranot. “The number of people with diabetes around the world is growing exponentially, we see a lot of cardiovascular diseases coming from sugar overconsumption and we see the reduction of sugar being on the agenda of governments, regulators and companies.”
Ranot sees that companies are under increasing pressure to reduce the sugar content in their products due to these developments. But “taste is still the number one driver for purchase decisions.”
Simply Keto is an online provider of keto and low-carb diet products. “We want to provide everything customers need in this kind of nutrition,” explains co-founder, Robert Zeck.
Using erythritol and stevia, the company developed a chocolate recipe with a sweetener that does not impact blood sugar levels.
Zeck sees three primary customer groups for its keto products, people who want to lose weight, people with health concerns like diabetes and high-performers who benefit from a stable blood sugar level.
“You can lose weight easily, without being hungry when in ketosis because your body burns fat. This is basically what keto means.”
He expects keto to become more prevalent as consumers are increasingly interested in learning about the diet.
Start-up BenFit-Nutrition GmbH showcased a range of healthier substitution food and snack products, such as bread, pasta, chips and spreads.
“Demand is coming from retailers but also out of the community,” notes Benjamin Jakob, BenFit-Nutrition’s founder and CEO.
“For us, it’s about offering healthier substitution products and to have the option to eat gluten-free bread in a healthier and tasty way and I think this is what the consumers are searching for.”
When the company first started, Jakob saw a focus on high protein. He now foresees a growing demand for organic, sugar-free, less sugar, lower carbohydrate levels, keto, gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options.
Mints with added benefits
Powermints GmbH produces vegan, sugar-free mints, using sucralose and xylitol to sweeten its products. Jannis Theileis, the company’s managing director, notes these ingredients have additional benefits.
“Xylitol helps prevent tooth decay,” he explains. The ingredient helps to protect teeth by neutralizing the pH level in a person’s mouth after eating or drinking coffee, which generally increases acidity levels.
Theileis sees that natural, good-quality ingredients and sustainability are increasingly important for consumers.
Powermints products are flavored with essential oils, such as peppermint and lemon oils, and dehydrated fruits, e.g., berries and peaches, to meet those consumer demands. The company has reduced its plastic packaging materials and aims to become plastic-free shortly.
By Jolanda van Hal
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