BLOG: Vegetable potential – conquering natural sweetness
Today’s consumers want it all – the same great-tasting products but with none of the bad stuff. With mounting studies highlighting how sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes and dental problems, for example, and with the sugar tax on beverages in the UK being implemented, there is definitely change coming to the food industry.
But how can we handle this? Sugar is everywhere. Faced with such a challenge, manufacturers are coming up with innovative new ways to add natural sweetness to food and drink formulations. They are on the look-out for alternative ingredients to replace high-sugar sweetening options. Consumer wish lists are long; the chosen replacement has to be low calorie and clean label.
Vegetables are the hidden hero ingredients, adding a distinctive edge to the latest products on the shelves. The forward-thinking Asian market has been paving the way for juice vegetable blends – and now Western consumers are discovering their benefits. Vegetables are not just for savoury; we’re now seeing them in sweet food and drink applications, too. And why not?!
Vegetables are the obvious choice, and the benefits stack up: sophisticated flavours, strong colour and a healthy profile, for example, while also cutting sugar. Plus, consumers are wanting to see recognisable ‘clean label’ ingredients like pumpkin puree, so reformulation is at the top of manufacturers’ agendas.
Vegetable blends are truly transforming flavours. If you thought you knew food and drink classics, think again. Manufacturers are experimenting – with exciting results. Red beet tortillas, sweet potato and pumpkin yoghurt and apple, kiwi, cucumber and melon yoghurt are just a few examples of where the humble vegetable is creating great new tastes. We’re wanting more from our juices now – flavours like orange, carrot and lemon and apple, as well as cucumber, celery and spinach are setting the bar high. With consumer appetites for unusual flavours and healthy options on the rise, the popularity of vegetable blends for natural sweetness looks set to continue to grow.
 WHO, 2015. Guideline, sugar intake for adults and children
Dejan Trifunović, SVZ Business Intelligence Manager