Barry Callebaut releases stevia chocolate

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 7th October 2010

SteviaSwiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut has begun producing chocolate sweetened with Stevia extract on an industrial scale, with the first products to be launched by Belgian specialist chocolate maker Cavalier.

Callebaut have replaced sugar in the new chocolate completely with a sweetener solution,  which is both high in fibre and contains 65% less calories. It also does not have the laxative effect of other non-sugar sweeteners, but the company says they haven’t compromisied on the celebrated taste, texture and aroma of fine, traditional chocolate.

“For chocolate, finding a great-tasting, calorie-reduced alternative for sugar maintaining all the right properties in terms of texture and viscosity is a major challenge. I am therefore particularly proud of this latest achievement. Barry Callebaut’s unique chocolate-sweetener solution is based on a well selected blend of ingredients from a natural source,” said Chief innovation officer at Barry Callebaut, Hans Vriens.

Felix Verdegem, owner of Cavalier Chocolate, a family company which has been dedicated to producing no sugar added chocolate since 1996, said the new product was very exciting.

“As a family company dedicated to producing no sugars added chocolate since 1996, Cavalier is extremely excited about this latest innovation. Chocolate with Stevia is based on a sweetener solution limiting the overconsumption of sugars, while still offering the same unaltered experience of purity and refinement, as well as all healthy ingredients naturally found in cocoa. As such, it responds perfectly to the increasing consumer demand for healthier forms of indulgence.”

Barry Callebaut’s no-sugar-added chocolate is based on a sweetener solution (1/1 replacement of sugar) and an extract from the Stevia plant (Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni). Stevia is cultivated throughout Asia and South America where it has been used as a food ingredient for over 200 years. When refined, Stevia extract has between 100 and 400 times the sweetness of ordinary sugar while having zero calories

In terms of justifiable claims, Callebaut said that chocolate with Stevia extract may be labeled as sugar reduced (90%), light sugar, containing maximum 5% sugars and rich in fiber (of which 20% cocoa-derived fiber). In the US market, the product can be labeled as No Sugar Added Dark Chocolate or simply Dark Chocolate.

In order to consistently guarantee a maximum 5% sugars content, Barry Callebaut said their chocolate-sweetening solution with Stevia extract is produced according to strict good manufacturing processes. As a result, it is also a highly flexible solution and can be adapted to suit different markets, specific claims, labeling requirements and desired physical characteristics.