Beneo primes for key Sweets & Snacks Expo confectionery ingredients showcase
The Beneo group is gearing-up for a key presentation of its ingredients solutions for the confectionery sector at this year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo in the US, reports Neill Barston.
As previously noted, the supplier event takes place on 22-23 May forms a key part of the wider overall showcase which runs until next Thursday (25 May) at McCormick place Chicago for the final time before transferring to new venues in Indianapolis and Las Vegas for future editions.
This key equipment, systems and ingredients showcase was revived for Sweets & Snacks two years ago, and has continued to expand, with more than 100 businesses participating for this year’s event.
Kyle Krause, regional product manager for Beneo (pictured right in main image), believed there was a strong degree of optimism ahead of returning to Chicago once again, highlighting its core sugar replacer Isomalt and Palatinose alternative sugar, and sugar-reduced products that have already found significant application opportunities within the confectionery space.
“We were there last year, and we have expanded the showcase to a second day, so we’re looking forward to that, we’ll be showing some confectionery products, including some great chocolates and gummies. There’s also a new vegan chocolate that’s rice based, which we have just exhibited and are excited to showcase that, so it should be a good show,” enthused the sector specialist, who felt there had been a sense of resilience in the market despite some wider challenging conditions.
He added: “With sugar reduction, it’s something I started out selling 17 years ago when I first joined the company and our portfolio that we had then, and it’s still strong now.
“As part of this, we’ve also seen the rise of Keto claims, and we now see that now applications and packaging relating to how much carbohydrate is in products, so with sugar being a carbohydrate, if you lower that, then you’re lowering those carbs.
“We are continuing with our ingredients, whether it’s our Orafti chicory root fibre as a bulk sugar replacer, we also have Isomalt that is used in a lot of confections, as well as Palatinose, which is a healthier sugar, as well as our rich starch, which has use as a filling for confectionery ranges,” explains Kyle, who says there remains key markets for broader baked-goods and dairy product ranges that has seen the potential market within the segment continue to grow.
As he noted, there’s ‘a fine line’ between something being considered an indulgent treat, and ranges that were billed squarely as being sugar reduced, or healthier options, which he said had seen a nuanced approach from manufacturers, which often led to a concept of ‘stealth sugar reduction’ where brands had actively made sugar reduction part of their formulations, yet did not actively market that aspect of the range to avoid potential negative reaction from consumers.
He added that technology regarding sugar replacement had improved significantly over the past decade, noting that key products such as stevia in its first generation of products across the wider industry had its limitations, which many companies operating in the sector have been able to refine and attain far more successful results with in recent years.
“I think one of the Holy Grails is how can you replace sugar with something that acts just like it an costs nearly the same – a lot of sugar replacer applications are not the same price as sugar, so it’s finding the right formulation that consumers are willing to pay for, as well be being innovative products in terms of textures and flavours. So I think product developers and brands in general should think about the whole package of their product rather than just sugar reduction.
“For example, our chicory fibre (Orafti) feeds the good bacteria in your body, and there’s also calcium benefits – so you can talk about bone health, that are considered structure function claims rather than health claims that are a different category. Prebiotics are having a bit of a resurgence now, and people are taking advantage of this, and of course those messages should be backed by science. If they are going to be making such claims, then it should be backed by significant clinical research,” added Kyle, who said that after nearly two decades working in the category, consumers were willing to pay more for product ranges within such categories.
“Here at Beneo we say that we’re connecting nutrition and health, so we are very much on trend and have been for some time, introducing new products like faba bean protein- with protein enrichment being something that consumers really look for,” he adds, observing that the confectionery sector has benefitted from a number of such options in recent times, including its applications using chicory fibres.
- Beneo is at the West Hall with skyline ballroom for the supplier showcase of Sweets & Snacks, between 22-23 May booth 30319.