The Aztecs, a thousand years ago, already knew the high enjoyment value of the fermented cocoa fruit and made a drink of cocoa, water, vanilla and cayenne pepper that they called chocolate. At that time it was a more healthy drink without sugar and was known as the food of the gods.
Cocoa found its way to Europe and industrial production started in the beginning of the 19th century, when cocoa was blended with sugar in a roller mill. The result was a fine chocolate with a pleasant mouthfeel, affordable by everyone. Today, annual per capita consumption of chocolate in central Europe is almost 8 kg. The Swiss have the highest consumption, at 8.8 kg per year. Chocolate products overall now account for more than 50% of the global confectionery market share (Innova, 2017).
Reducing sugar in our diet is one of the most dominant topics in the public health debate. Chocolate has always been a popular confectionery item but unfortunately it has a high sugar and fat content (up to 45%). The basic recipe has changed very little but nowadays there is also reduced-sugar chocolate and chocolate with no added sugar on
Today many consumers practise a healthier lifestyle focusing on healthy food and a reduction in sugar, fat and salt. They also follow new trends such as vegetarianism and veganism. This has resulted in the development of new products boasting all manner of “free from…” or “reduced…” claims, with associated changes in taste and texture. But the bottom line is that consumers rarely accept a compromise in taste and quality. Product developers must come up with innovations that result in equivalent products with the same pleasant taste and mouthfeel.
Sugar reduction can be achieved in different ways: total sugar exchange, partial sugar exchange or stepwise sugar exchange over a period of time. Chocolate with no added sugar is readily available on the market. However, it rarely compares favourably with normal chocolate in terms of taste and texture. The taste profile often lacks the typical sugary sweetness and the texture is affected by the changes in processing parameters required for a sugar-free chocolate mass. Therefore, high-quality sugar-free chocolate depends on a sugar replacement that fulfils both the sweetening quality as well as the functionality of sugar. ERYLITE® Erythritol largely meets these requirements.
ERYLITE® Erythritol – made naturally by bio-fermentation
Erythritol is a naturally-occurring sugar alcohol (polyol) that is manufactured from glucose using a natural fermentation process. It is a great alternative to other polyols and bulk sweeteners due to its unique attributes: it is noncaloric, it has a high digestive tolerance of around 0.8 g/kg bodyweight and a low hygroscopicity. Unlike other polyols, erythritol is naturally present in many foods such as wine, soy sauce and a variety of fruits.