Health-minded consumers have become increasingly concerned about managing their weight and sugar intake, and they wish to do so without sacrificing taste or giving up their favorite sweet indulgence. Processors have responded to these concerns by removing part or all of the sugar in many varieties of confections, from chocolate to chewing gum, to tablets and hard-panned candies. The removal or reduction of sugar offers the consumer one added benefit, but these candies also can be made with added functional ingredients such as fiber, which merely enhances their appeal.

Food scientists at Roquette America Inc. have carried out extensive application work with reduced sugar and sugar-free confections using MALTISORB® (i.e., maltitol) as a sugar substitute and NUTRIOSE® soluble fiber for functional benefit. Maltitol is an ideal choice for use as a sugar replacement because its sweetness perception, at a value of 90, is nearly that of sucrose, at 100. As a result, maltitol can be used as a bulk sweetener, and yet its caloric contribution is nearly half that of sugar at 2.1Kcal/g vs. 4Kcal/g, respectively.

Maltitol is thermally stable up to 200°C (392°F), does not participate in Maillard browning, is not fermented by yeast, is non-cariogenic and provides good stability and shelflife. Maltitol may be used for sugar reduction/elimination and calorie reduction and also for glycemic-index reduction and texture, viscosity and crystallization control. In addition, maltitol is easy to use in processing. For instance, when maltitol is used in chocolate, high temperature conching may proceed without any process modifications. Maltitol's low cooling effect makes it a good choice for chewing gum centers,

Historically, consumers have struggled to meet the recommended daily intake of fiber, which is set at 25g per day. Processors can offer consumers an alternative source by adding NUTRIOSE soluble fiber to confections. NUTRIOSE products are dextrins made from wheat or corn starch that contain more indigestible links than traditional starches or maltodextrins. These soluble fibers have a high digestive tolerance, a low-glycemic and insulinemic index, a low-caloric value (2Kcal/g), are non-cariogenic and highly stable in food processing (i.e., acid and heat resistant, highly soluble, low hygroscopicity) and easy to use.

Maltitol and fiber give confectioners added options for innovative product design, particularly when formulating for those searching for healthier alternatives in a market not traditionally associated with nutrition-packed selections. Processors can show consumers that they can have their sweets and eat them, too.

For more information:
Roquette America Inc., Keokuk, Iowa
Philippe Levresse • •