Why Your Business Should Choose Date Syrup and Date Paste as Sugar Alternatives

If your business is in the process of making a change to its added sugar profile then you may already have read the first two articles in our trilogy guiding you through the process. If not, then you might find our pieces on considering whether to switch from added sugar and choosing the right added sugar alternatives  to be useful. If your decision making has already reached the stage where you’re keen to discover why we think date products are the right product for replacing added sugar, then please read on.


Which other businesses have switched to using date products?

 It’s always useful to look at industry trends when considering making a significant change to your product profile. In the case of the food industry, the move towards using alternatives to added sugar is clear (for reasons we’ve outlined in part one of our series of article). In the case of date products, they are not only being used as an alternative to added sugars, they are also increasing in use as an ingredient in their own right. This is something that can be seen from the table below:

Growth of product launches and relaunches containing dates in the UK, 2007-2016, Source: Innova Database

When it comes to achieving or maintaining national listings for your products, looking at what the UK’s supermarkets are doing is a useful guide. Tesco is the most active retailer when it comes to private label product launches, having launched 19.9% of all private label product launches tracked in the UK in the past 5 years featuring dates.

Retail own label product launches containing dates. Source: Innova Database

The graph below shows the top 15 companies using dates and date ingredients in their products according to the number of the product launches and relaunches in the last 5 years. The names include some big players on the market, such as Natural Balance Foods (Nakd, Trek), Lifefood (Lifebar), Dorset Cereals, Pulsin, Rude Health, Windmill Organics, Castus, Planet Organic, Mornflake, together with the retailers already mentioned above.


Companies by number of product launches and relaunches using dates, 2011-2016. Source: Innova Database

As some of the UK’s biggest names in retail are happy to use date ingredients in their products, following their lead should present no challenge to achieving or maintaining national listings in their stores.


Why are brands using date products? What are the benefits?

When it comes to sugar, there are three key pressure points facing food businesses.

1) Being able to describe products as ‘No Added Sugar’

Products labelled ‘no added sugar’ are increasingly appealing to both consumer and retailer markets. In the first of this series of three articles, we covered which types of sugar are legally considered to be ‘added sugar’.  Dates, chopped dates and date paste are not classed as ‘added sugar’ so using them as a substitute for sugars will allow you to change your marketing and packaging.

Free and added sugars are seen as such a challenge that Public Health England has produced a programme based around reducing their presence in the public diet. One of the pillars of this programme is increasing the amount of fibre consumed by people from 18g to 30g a day. As dates contain high fibre, switching to date products such as chopped dates and date paste is a choice in tune with the current public health drive.


2) Being able to switch to ingredients seen as ‘natural’

 Whether you’re using date syrup (also known as date juice concentrate – an added sugar) or no added sugar alternative, date paste, date products carry the benefit of being seen as ‘natural’. They are not artificial sweeteners.

Another factor is that consumers interested in using products labelled as ‘natural’ may also overlap with other dietary requirements or preferences. Date products and honey may both be seen as ‘natural’ but switching to honey will mean you can no longer access the vegan market. Being produced by bees, honey is not vegan. Dates, on the other hand, are vegan.


3) Being able to reduce the amount of added sugar in your products

 You may not yet feel confident in changing some specific recipes completely from added sugar to ‘no added sugar’ ingredients yet, but you can still reduce the amount of added sugar in your products. In this situation, date syrup can be a great option. It’s classed as an added sugar but is naturally sweeter than sugar, meaning that you can use less of it in your recipes.


But why choose Beloved as your date products supplier?

We hope that by now we’ve demonstrated that date syrup and/or paste could be right for your business. What we haven’t yet told you is why Beloved is the right company to act as your supplier.

  • Stability of supply is hugely important when it comes to being able to plan the growth and development of your company’s offering. At Beloved, we realise this and we are constantly reviewing the range of producers we work with to ensure that we offer a supply chain you can rely upon. Years of research, experience and relationship building have ensured we have a supply chain that is resilient, reliable and is able to meet your requirements as your business grows.
  • Technical and recipe support is something that not all date product suppliers are able to offer, despite it being crucial. No alternative to added sugar is an exact replica of it in terms of functionality, taste and sweetness. As such, at Beloved, we understand that adjusting your refined sugar profile by changing existing recipes or introducing new products will require testing, guidance and support.
  • We have a solid team who bring years of experience in recipe formulation and technical support, so we can provide as much or as little assistance as your own product development team needs. We recognise the mutual benefit in your business enjoying long-term success from using our ingredients and we’re keen to assist you in this. This can mean helping you to adjust an already popular product, but can also mean helping you to spot and capitalise upon opportunities to expand your existing range.


What’s the next step for your business?

 We hope that over the course of this series of articles we’ve demonstrated to you why dates represent a great choice for food businesses looking for refined sugar substitutes. We also hope that you can see the level of experience, enthusiasm and capability that we bring to our own role as suppliers.

To arrange a chat about how we can help your business, please contact us now.