Raw sweets: “Raw” ingredients are paving the way for innovative products at the point of sale
Consumers, who are increasingly placing importance on healthy snacks, are no longer a rarity. Almost half of the Germans want to reduce or totally avoid the consumption of foodstuffs that contain sugar. The result: Sweets with in some cases revolutionary recipes are taking the shelves by storm at the point of sale. The so-called raw sweets are newcomers on the market. From 27.-30.01.2018, ProSweets Cologne will be demonstrating how the manufacturers of sweets and snacks can enjoy more scope with alternative recipes and innovative processes.
The secret of many sweets lies in the cocoa or to be more precise in the cocoa beans. They are the basis for numerous products that sweeten up our lives. Over 350,000 tonnes are roasted, grounded and subsequently conched into chocolate in Germany every year. This involves the beans being rolled, grated and heated to temperatures of over 70 degrees Celsius. Even the most exotic recipes for filled chocolates, slabs of chocolate as well as chocolate bars and figures can be produced using the machines on display at ProSweets Cologne.
New products for the sweet assortment
In contrast to this there are methods that involve the beans being ground in a stone mill – this initially means plain and fine dark chocolate without the addition of milk. The non-conched “stone ground chocolate” is only minimally processed and has a coarser consistence. There is a high demand for such products: Raw sweets are one of the big trends that the market research agency, Innova Market Insights, has determined for the industry. Especially fruit snacks, whether dried or processed otherwise are selling better and better. The most popular fruits include plums, bananas, mangos and apricots. However, the concept of the “raw sweets” faces traditional manufacturers with major challenges, because the ingredients are heated to a maximum of 48 degrees Celsius so that the enzymes and nutrients remain intact.
The focus is always on the nutritional value and it is always about ingredients like almonds or cocoa nibs remaining as natural as possible – the ingredients only retain their full taste and natural colour if they are dried gently. Sugar is frequently omitted. Agave syrup, maple syrup or honey are used to add the necessary sweetness. To this end, the product developers have to change the entire recipe, which involves great effort considering the limited selection of raw materials. Whereas some manufacturers increase the share of fruit, others work with natural aromas and extracts. Raw sweets partly represent what is currently hip for snacks and treats: Products that are made following this principle unite the advantages of natural ingredients with those of a more gentle manufacturing process. Raw sweets are also an experimental playground for the developers of vegan snacks, because the consumers not only enjoy a nibble they are also looking for sustainable and ethically responsible products. At the same time there are many gluten-free products among the fruit and cereal bars.
Gentle refinement process
This is both an opportunity and a challenge for the suppliers of ingredients exhibiting in Hall 10 of the Cologne fair grounds, who are located at the interface between health and enjoyment with their offers. However, it is not always possible to use crunchy nuts, aromatic dried fruit or crispy cereals in the food matrix without prior refinement. Natural substrate material or a coating consisting of vegetable fat are frequently necessary to enable characteristics like dye migration and dissolvability to be defined exactly. It is not completely possible without gentle physical processes such as pressing, chopping and drying. An example here is agave syrup powder, which the manufacturers of sweets like to implement as a natural sweetener. The crystal powder is primarily a problem solver for dry formulations such as bakery products. It can be completely dissolved in water and can be mixed with other ingredients dust-free. It increases the dry mass of the dough in bakery products, which in turn improves its texture and cohesion, while lending savoury items and snacks a crunchy texture.
Raw sweets go hand in hand with the growing enthusiasm for superfoods and colouring foodstuffs, which are exclusively gained from edible raw materials such as fruits or vegetables – for example from safflower, black carrots, red radish, red cabbage, elderberries and spirulina. They are predominantly used in fruit gums, dragées and soft or hard caramels. But the micronized powder – which is one of the latest innovations in this section – can also be used to add bright and natural colours to chocolate and filled chocolates. Since a labelling as an additive falls away, more and more conventional manufacturers of sweets are choosing this method too.
With the current consumer wishes in mind
The visitors can learn everything about the concept of raw sweets at ProSweets Cologne from 27.-30.01.2019. With the current consumer wishes in mind, the ingredients specialists want to give the sweet producers a competitive edge at the point of sale. In addition to market-leading companies such as Döhler, GNT, Olam or Noreva, smaller and medium-sized companies in this segment are also exhibiting at ProSweets Cologne. The market research institute, Innova Market Insights, will additionally present the current trends from the market segment of raw sweets. The machine builders, who will also be represented at the Cologne fair grounds, provide the appropriate equipment for the processing of heat-sensitive raw materials. Beyond this the “Ingredients – Reformulation for Sweets and Snacks” special event as well as numerous lectures and discussions in the Speakers Corner will provide a deep insight into the current trends and recipes. Moreover, The German Agricultural Society (DLG) is offering free specialised tours on the theme of reformulation at the trade fair.