With growing consumer sophistication in Asia Pacific demanding for ideal balance between good taste and health, Sweegen has taken a step further into the China market by formulating premium low-calorie confectionery chocolate for the brand TeChoco.
According to Shari Mahon, SVP, Head of Global Innovation, “Sweegen has demonstrated the near-impossible task of formulating low-calorie great-tasting confectionery chocolate products with low to no sugar. Now, consumers can enjoy premium chocolates with high-quality and health-conscious ingredients without the guilt and negative health benefits from sugar.”
Formulating chocolate confectionery products is complex. In addition to innovating around interesting textures, desirable flavors, and attractive colors, the biggest challenge in formulating confectionery chocolate is bitterness. The higher percentage of cocoa in products is typically met with more bitterness and less sugar, but healthier. Mahon said, “Taste modulation is an ideal option for product developers specialising in health and wellness confectionery chocolate to resolve the impression of bitter off-notes and controlling sweetness and lingering after-tastes. Texture can improve mouthfeel and help to elevate the indulgent appeal of chocolate.”
According to Mintel, more than half of Chinese consumers buy confectionery chocolate to treat themselves. Even though consumers in China seek to experience indulgence in their sweet snacks, they are mindful of maintaining a good weight, health, and wellness. Sugar intake is anticipated to decrease in line with the national “Healthy China 2030” initiative to reduce sugar consumption by at least 17 percent. Health problems linked to obesity and diabetes are of concern to government health officials as the Chinese population consume approximately 15 million tons of sugar annually.
The growing craze for healthy and low-sugar indulgent products led to skyrocketing sales of TeChoco confectionery chocolate at more than 2000 retail stores, both online and in brick-and-mortar shops, including powerhouse e-commerce giants TaoBao and DMall, and convenience stores like Bianlifeng and Lawson.
“TeChoco is on the forefront of innovating better-for-you confections with higher levels of cacao content,” said Mahon. “They are a brand example of health and wellness products for sugar reduction in China, focusing on full solutions for using natural sweeteners in conjunction with taste modulation to drive consumer acceptance on products to mimic the indulgent products they prefer and desire.”
As TeChoco sales continue, the products are promising for other Asia-Pacific countries, including Singapore and Malaysia, where Sweegen has its Signature Reb M stevia approval. Sweegen will also establish an Asia-Pacific Innovation Studio in Singapore within the next 12 months, where brands can leverage local tastes and explore solutions to create delicious zero-sugar products.
Sweegen anticipates the approval of Reb M in China. With the arrival of a better-tasting natural sweetener, the company foresees the China market to develop more products with reduced sugar and consumer-preferred tastes.
Sweegen offers manufacturers cost-effective and rapid innovation sugar reduction solutions. Its robust Taste Modulation portfolio is key for helping to block bitterness, boost the perception of sweetness, manage a lingering note, enhance mouthfeel, or reduce astringency in confectionery, beverage, dairy, savory, and bakery products.
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