Dates Among Top Preferred Natural Alternatives to Sugar

With changing attitudes towards sugar, consumers are increasingly looking for natural alternatives in food and beverage products. While honey is leading the trend, dried fruits (e.g. dates) and fruit juice concentrates are clearly catching up. Their use is likely to grow even faster since unlike honey they are suitable for vegan products.

As Mintel reports, consumers are open to a wide range of alternatives to refined white sugar in food/drink products. Honey is very popular, with 41% consumers finding it as the most appealing substitute for white sugar. Dried fruit such as dates and fruit juice concentrates are the preferred alternative to sugar for 22% consumer each, but are likely to become more popular since the awareness about naturally produced fruit juices is growing. Additionally, veganism is currently the fastest growing food trend, bringing significant implications for food manufacturers, looking to develop vegan friendly versions of their products. Over half a million people in the UK are declared vegans, which is 360% more than just a decade ago (source: Vegan Society). Unlike honey, dates can contribute towards vegan friendly claims.

Dates can be incorporated in food products in many forms – as whole or chopped, as paste or juice concentrate, depending on preferred texture and nutritional requirements. They are rich with antioxidants and minerals, fibre, and therefore contribute to clean label claims. Their use as an ingredient has increased for 262% over the last decade, which proves their increasing popularity and applicability. Beloved are particularly focused on innovating with dates in the categories recognised as crucial for sugar reduction by the government: sugar confectionery, ice cream and desserts, breakfast cereals, yogurts, biscuits, cakes, breakfast pastries and sweet spreads.

Looking to reformulate your recipes to comply with the new sugar reduction guidelines or simply to enhance the taste of your products? Drop us an email or give us a call at 01733 856 620 and our team will be happy to create a bespoke solution for you and your products.

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