80% of the Brits having eaten a cake in the three months before December 2016 (Mintel, 2016), despite increasing public efforts to reduce sugar and tackle (childhood) obesity. However, although cakes remain a synonym of “me time” and “balanced diet”, people increasingly tend to consider healthier and reduced sugar options, which also bring certain nutritional benefits. This is what Mintel refers to as the Positive Nutrition trend.
- 31% of the consumers would eat more cake if there were more reduced sugar options
- 21% would like to see more nutrients such as fibre or protein claimed on the packaging (Positive Nutrition)
- 16% see dried fruits such as dates as the most suitable alternative to refined sugars in cakes
The biggest push for sugar reduction is coming from public health bodies, 62% consumers believe that it’s manufacturers’ responsibility to reduce sugar content in their cakes, which puts a significant pressure on the cake industry. Although there are many sugar alternatives available, not all of them are suitable for cakes, since they also need to preserve the original texture, colour and moisture of the products. Additionally, sweeteners such as Stevia and maltitol are not allowed to be used in cakes according to the EU legislation, with maltitol permitted only in fillings and toppings.
At the same time, 55% consumers continue to prioritise the taste of the cake, meaning the manufacturers are encouraged to reduce sugar without compromising the delicious taste of the cakes. Sounds impossible? Not for Beloved – challenge accepted.
We’ve been working on developing solutions that allow for both sugar reduction, fibre and protein increase as well as enhance and improve the flavour of the final products. Our food technologists have developed a range of bespoke recipes achieving sugar reduction at levels such as 20%, as well as overall improved nutrition. Dates, due to their high natural sweetness index, are a great ingredient to achieve sugar reduction, since less can be used. As they contain only naturally occurring sugars, they are suitable for clean label claims such as refined sugar free, low sugar and even no added sugar in certain formulations. Spot on on the positive nutrition trend.
Date ingredients work well even in products where date flavour is not desired, since in particular Date Paste and Date Juice Concentrate (date syrup) blend really well with other ingredients and our customers are often surprise to learn there’s date ingredients in certain products. Cakes, achieving sugar reduction with dates, therefore won’t put off customers who might not be keen on date flavour.
The market has responded relatively slowly so far. Only 0.6% of new product launches within cake and pastry market in the UK in 2016 claim to be low/no/reduced (L/N/R) sugar products. This leads to a general apprehension for new New Product Developments. Act now. Respond to consumer demands and provide nutrient rich, reduced sugar cakes to keep your customers healthy and happy.
If you’re looking for anything bespoke or would like to speak with our technical team, please do not hesitate to contact us and our team will be happy to help. We are not just your date supplier. We provide nutritional expertise for manufacturers searching for solutions and our technical team can develop bespoke recipes achieving refined sugar free, reduced sugar or no added sugar formulations, while keeping the products tasty and appealing for consumers.