Valio’s researchers discovered that '30% less sugar' chocolate made with milk-based protein is equal to regular chocolate in taste and texture. The optimal ash-protein ratio in the reduced sugar chocolate was linked to pleasant taste and texture. This solution allows manufacturers to make delicious ’30% less sugar’ chocolate without artificial sweeteners.
The current wellness trend means that consumers are looking for foods that support an active and healthy lifestyle. Yet, they want to enjoy eating and are reluctant to compromise on the taste, texture, or naturality of food. To reduce sugar consumption and the ill-effects of sugar, many countries have implemented sugar taxes.
“As a result of the wellness trend and sugar taxes, food and confectionery manufacturers are constantly looking for solutions to create tasty food products with reduced sugar content,” says Terhi Aaltonen, Development Manager and researcher at Valio.
The optimal ash-protein ratio gives '30% less sugar' chocolate the melt-in-your-mouth feel
Consumer acceptance is key in creating desirable and successful reduced sugar products. Both the reformulation and sensory properties of the products need to be acceptable. Valio’s researchers were able to produce an acceptable '30% less sugar' chocolate by replacing sugar with a milk-based protein.
“The control chocolate contained a standard sugar level and the trial chocolates had total sugar levels that were reduced by 30%. Consumers rated the chocolate samples according to their overall liking, liking of taste and texture and the attributes sweetness, saltiness and sandiness,” Aaltonen explains.
The ash-protein ratio, or the amount of salt and protein, proved critical in achieving the best possible consistency in ‘30% less sugar’ chocolate. The ash-protein ratio had the strongest positive correlation with the overall liking as well as the liking of texture and taste. The ash-protein ratio had the strongest negative correlation with sandiness.
Valio’s research findings were published in a peer reviewed article in the International Dairy Journal on February 7th, 2020.
Gut-friendly* sugar reduction with lactose free milk powder
Sugar in chocolate is commonly reduced by using either polyols, also known as sugar alcohols, or by adding fibre. Polyols can cause digestive discomfort if consumed in excess, and their use requires a warning label about laxative effects on product packaging.
“When the sugar reduction is achieved with Valio’s solution, that is lactose free milk powder, no such warning is necessary. It is possible to use the claim ‘reduced sugar’ as well as claim ‘protein source’ on these chocolates,” says Aaltonen.
Active research fuels Valio’s innovations
Active research is at the core of Valio’s innovativeness and has been throughout the company’s history. The strong R&D heritage has resulted in a Nobel prize as well as hundreds of published research papers. Thanks to active research, Valio can bring new ingredients and ways of implementing them to help food manufacturers gain new business and to support consumers in making healthy food choices.
*Contains calcium, which contributes to the normal function of digestive enzymes as a part of a healthy diet
Valio - The world’s most innovative dairy and food company
Valio’s mission is to create wellbeing and taste sensations in a responsible way. We make tasty products from milk and many other ingredients; we bring delightful tastes, variety and joy to the food table. We also carry out important roles in society: ensuring food security, enhancing public health and improving animal welfare are some examples of our impacts. In line with our mission, we are making life better. This is also the conclusion of the Finns who have chosen Valio as Finland’s most sustainable brand for seven consecutive years.
4,700 Finnish dairy farmers own Valio through cooperatives. We pay out all the profits to our milk producers through the milk price. We employ a total of 25,000 people at dairy farms. Valio has 4,000 professionals at work from different sectors and we listen to consumers with our more than 100 years of experience.
Nobel Laureate A.I. Virtanen’s legacy continues to live on with us. When he headed Valio’s laboratories, the concept of improving the wellbeing of people took root as our guiding principle. We turn science into products that make life better. Consumers in more than 60 countries enjoy Valio products, and we have 350 patents for our innovations around the world. We are Finland’s biggest food exporter and a trailblazer for the whole food industry. Valio’s sales in 2019 were EUR 1,787 million.