New “Healthy Chocolate” Created With Monk Fruit Juice
A sugar alternative made from the fruit juice of a small melon has helped one Australian manufacturer create a unique new range of chocolate.
Created by Australian health food company Healthy Warrior under The Chocolate Counter brand, the new low sugar, high fibre chocolate line launched in Coles this week with a gluten free recipe that has no added dairy, soy, and all natural ingredients – including no artificial sweeteners but retains a comparable taste and consistency to normal chocolate.
GKC Foods sales and marketing consultant Graeme Hamilton says with around one in ten Australians showing a level of gluten or dairy intolerance, market demand for healthier snacks is increasing.
“Those with allergies or specific dietary preferences are looking for wellness products that have similar properties to normal confectionery.
“We also know that food intolerances often go together in individuals so that someone who reacts to lactose may also have issues with gluten,” he says
Hamilton says many existing low sugar products on the market are made with sugar alcohols which can exacerbate gastric problems for these groups.
“Our brief from Healthy Warrior was to create a great tasting range of chocolate that was also a good source of fibre and protein and no added sugar. At the same time we looked to substitute new ingredients which haven’t been seen in chocolate before. This included adding things like chicory root which has significantly increased the fibre levels and a new innovation called monk fruit juice has been used to provide a natural, low calorie alternative to sugar,” says Hamilton.
After six months in development, GKC Foods selected monk fruit juice concentrate as a key component of the sweetener system. In addition to having reduced sugar and carbohydrate the product is also able to be manufactured on the same line as traditional chocolate – offering a comparable texture and viscosity during the production process.
“The monk fruit juice was particularly important as an ingredient as it meant the consistency of the finished product could be produced on the same lines as other chocolate products,”
“Already the initial customer feedback on the finished product has been extremely encouraging for the brand.” Hamilton says.
Monk fruit juice is a natural fruit juice made from a small Chinese melon called monk fruit. A natural low-calorie alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners, it can be used to reduce the sugar and calories in common foods and beverages.
Monk Fruit Corporation general manager David Thorrold says the Australian market is very developed when it comes to the wellness category.
“Increasingly Australian consumers are looking for low sugar products, so food manufacturers are constantly seeking alternative ingredients which have similar taste profiles to sugar.
Thorrold says global interest in the monk fruit juice is increasing as other manufacturers see the ingredient successfully integrated into new product releases.
“We have seen growing international interest in the ingredient. Monk fruit juice is uniquely positioned because it is a natural food ingredient, unlike other sugar alternatives which are classified as food additive sweeteners,” says Thorrold.
“We are forecasting that within the next three years we will have regulatory approval for our products to reach more than 5 billion consumers globally,” he says.
In addition to the new natural range produced for Healthy Warrior, the company has supplied New Zealand based Smartfoods who have developed a reduced sugar cereal for a major Australian supermarket chain, and monk fruit juice concentrate has also been used in the production of the low sugar ‘Pumpy Jackson’ chocolate brand in Australia.
The product also has applications in beverages – with New Zealand based global food multinational Hansells one of the first to use it in developing a 98% sugar free fruit drink.
About Monk Fruit Corp
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