Healthy chocolate and sugar reduction – a difficult balancing act
Ilco Kwast, EMEA Sales & Marketing Director, Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate provides some insight
According to figures from the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 adults are considered overweight, with 11% of these considered obese. The world’s population is also ageing – by 2050 the proportion of the population aged over 60 is expected to double, and to more than triple by 2100*.
As a response to this there is now a well-established trend among consumers towards a healthy lifestyle, incorporating a balanced diet and a wider holistic approach to health and well-being. However, consumers still want to experience enjoyment and great taste – but from a healthier perspective – moderate acceptable treats in terms of things such as sugar or portion size. This is often referred to as ‘Permissible Indulgence’.
These consumers favour products without added sugar or look for natural alternatives to sugar, or naturally derived sweeteners, for example stevia, which Cargill offers through its Truvia® brand in its no added sugar dark chocolate. Such consumers are driving innovation in chocolate confectionery, with brands re-positioning themselves to maintain interest in the category and propose healthier options.
To reflect and encourage this move towards sugar reduction, governments around the world are introducing taxes and regulation which is moving food manufacturers towards reformulation to reduce sugar in their products – for example the sugar tax introduced in the UK around soft drinks, with similar taxes also introduced in France and Belgium.
Although there isn’t such a tax applying to chocolate in the UK, all sectors of the food industry are being challenged to reduce overall sugar intake by 20% by 2020 – and chocolate manufacturers are responding to this with various reduced sugar options.
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