More and more consumers prefer healthy, plant-based foodstuffs, which taste authentic and which contain the minimum amount of ingredients – an exciting, but demanding task for the manufacturers of sweets and snacks, which faces them with a technological challenge when striving to find the balance between enjoyment and health aspects. The ingredients specialists will come up with the answer at ProSweets Cologne from 30.01.-02.02.2022 in the form of innovative ingredients, which not only enable recipes that are rich in protein and fibre, but which also make clean label-conform reformulations possible.
People, who reach for chocolate, bonbons or fruit gums today, expect more than “just” good taste. Sweets and snacks should no longer purely offer a surprise effect through exotic taste combinations and fruity aromas, but should also support an active and conscious lifestyle as sugar-reduced or purely plant-based variants. As a result of the long lockdowns and social distancing measures, naturalness and health are two of the trends that are becoming more and more relevant for purchasing decisions. According to a survey by FMCG Gurus, around 38 percent of the consumers worldwide are currently on the look-out for more healthy sweets. 63 percent take a critical look at the list of ingredients, whereby statements such as “free from additives” or “100% natural” are extremely popular at the point of sale.
Parallel to this, the popularity of plant-based ingredients is driving the innovations of the sweets and snacks manufacturers. This is also leading to creative scope for new ways of enriching food with fibre. It is not without reason that the sweet segment is currently one of the product groups with the most health claims regarding grain, vegetable and legume-based fibre concentrates. As a rule, these can be easily integrated into existing recipes without altering the manufacturing processes. Wafer biscuits that contain wholegrain fibre in the filling, without a perceivable difference in taste, creaminess or crunchiness, are an example of this.
The exhibiting companies at the Cologne fair grounds cater for all these trends with tailor-made all-in-one solutions using ingredients such as fruit powder, nuts and vitamins, but also botanic extracts, functional fibres or legume-based protein concentrates. Against this backdrop, the development of new sweets in the clean label section is gathering speed. However, for the implementation of a completely clean label-conform reformulation several technological hurdles have to be overcome. This above all applies to the question of how the sensory properties of the original product regarding the taste, texture and colour, can be kept intact.
For example, switching over from artificial to natural colours brings special challenges with it. If fruit gums, chewing-gum or bonbons are to impress in cherry red, carrot orange or lemon, the use of colouring foodstuffs is recommendable. “According to EU stipulations, these are considered to be food ingredients, so they don’t need any E-numbers,” explained Petra Thiele, Managing Director at GNT Europa GmbH in Aachen. The company’s latest innovations include two solutions based on turmeric and spirulina, which provide a yellow-green and blue-green shade, respectively. These are gained from non-gmo fruits, vegetables and plants using physical processing methods..