Belgian universities claim sugar substitute breakthrough for confectionery

A major joint venture between the universities of Ghent and Brussels in Belgium, has claimed an ingredient breakthrough with Zusto, described as a natural fibre based ‘sugar without sugar,’ reports Neill Barston

The product, which stems from a 14-year project between the two educational institutions has launched in the UK as a direct replacement for sugar in existing ranges including confectionery, chocolate and biscuits.

As its developers noted to Confectionery Production, chefs and manufacturers have typically faced a key challenge in adapting sugar alternatives to their recipes without impacting on the structure, texture and taste of the final product.

Derived mainly from corn and chicory fibres, Zùsto is an FDA approved 1:1 high quality sugar substitute, composed of a unique blend of naturally derived fibres that deliver the sweet taste and make-up of traditional sugar. Most of the fibres are derived from corn and chicory.

Furthermore, the product is said to contain 75% less calories than sugar, has a low glycemic index (22) which means it is suitable for diabetics, and also offers an alternative for weight control and it has a significant prebiotic influence on the immune system.

Significantly, its developers say that one of its main attributes is in being a part or full replacement of sugar on a 1:1 weight basis while staying as close as possible, in construction, to the original food product, with broad application across the sector.

Ross Sneddon, executive pastry chef and a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Association of Pastry Chefs, has been trialing Zùsto in a number of recipes. He said: “Zusto has been a real problem solver for us, I can now have one offering across several individual dietary requirements, its perfect for diabetics and is allergy free.

“Afternoon tea, plated desserts, petit fours, sorbet & ice cream and Viennoiserie were particularly difficult to manage but Zùsto has changed all that for us. I have used it for cakes, tarts, scones, pastry, croissants, ganache, bread, Anglaise, butter cream, jams and syrups.”

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