AUSTRALIA: Chocolate company uses cane-based sweetener that cuts sugar content 50%

Published: 10/12/2017, 4:44:36 PM

Daintree Estates is taping the 'world first' whole sugarcane sweetener to halve sugar in chocolate, according to confectionerynews.com

The company - set up by former managing director of Cadbury Schweppes Australia, Barry Kitchen, in 2011 - has its own plantation in North Queensland and previously developed the first single origin Australian chocolate.

This month it introduced child-friendly chocolate range Fyto the Frog, which contains Australian cocoa and is sweetened with a Whole Sugarcane Sweetener, ​made up of raw sugar, sugarcane fiber (Phytocel) and a sugarcane extract (Phytolin) all from Australia.

"It's the first chocolate in the world to have this new Whole Sugarcane Sweetener in it,"​ Barry Kitchen, chairman of Daintree, told ConfectioneryNews.

"It's pulling all the components of the sugarcane plant that mills and refineries take so much cost to separate when they chase just white refined sugar. We felt it was time to put them all back together again."​

According to Kitchen, most industrially produced milk chocolate contains around 45% to 50% total sugars from white refined sugar and milk powder.

"What we've got down to is half that,"​ said Kitchen.

The trademarked Whole Sugarcane Sweetener used by Daintree is bound together by a sugarcane extract named Phytolin, which is extracted naturally.

Phytolin is a patented extract developed by Australian natural flavor company The Product Makers. Kitchen is head of The Product Makers' bioactives division.

He said the sweetener combo used in Fyto was ideal for chocolate.

"We can put it in beverages and we have done that, but the minute you put it in water the fiber breaks apart. You still get the benefits of the raw sugar and phytolin, but the fiber becomes disentangled.​

"In food or chocolate it stays together and you get the benefit of at least consuming some fiber,"​ he said

Kitchen said he was very open to discussing how other chocolate companies could use the sweetener and it could be done at an industrial-scale.

But how does cost in use compare to refined white sugar?

Kitchen said less than 0.5% of product weight needed to come from Phytolin, which costs as much as a natural flavor.

He said the fiber is more expensive than refined white sugar, but allows companies to reduce total sugars.

Daintree will donate 1% of proceeds from Fyto the Frog sales to conservation organization Rainforest Rescue. Fyto will be sold in supermarkets, chemists, health food stores and online for around A$1.20 (US$0.94). The 15g product contains 34% cocoa.

Daintree Estates is also continuing to innovate in premium chocolate.

"We have relaunched under our new branding and logo some really upmarket chocolates in terms of Australian origin,"​ said Kitchen.

Daintree has introduced a range of chocolates containing Australian wines. The products will retail for around AU$10 (US$7.81) for an 80g block and will also come in a smaller 40g block.

Daintree sweetens its premium products with raw sugar rather than the sweetener combo in its Fyto range.

But Kitchen said: "We hope we will be putting this sweetener in all of our chocolates down the track."​

Daintree is focusing on distribution in the Australian market for all its products, but plans to explore export markets in future.