ISRAEL – Strauss Group, an Israeli food manufacturer has launched refined sweet milk chocolate bar made with 30 percent less sugar, inline with consumer demand for low- and no-sugar versions.

Sugar in the product has been replaced with two main components: dietary fiber, at 17 percent, and ground tiger nut flour at 5 percent.

Strauss notes that the recipe also enables the retention of sweetness while preserving the chocolate’s creamy texture, and comes following two years of research and development.

The “technological breakthrough” swaps some sugar for dietary fiber and ground tiger nut flour.

Strauss Group has successfully produced an extract of tiger nut tubers, a natural source of sweetness found in Spain and is integrated into the local food culture of the country, as well as in South America and the eastern states.

Rich in vitamins and minerals and non-water-soluble dietary fiber, the tuber contains fats similar to olive oil and has a high content of resistant probiotic starch serving as food and a substrate to gut-friendly bacteria.

The tuber has a slightly sweet taste, hence in a complex development process it was found to be a source of sweetness that could significantly reduce sugar while preserving the familiar taste of chocolate.

Commenting on the innovation, Eyal Dror, Chief executive of Strauss Israel said “Strauss Group invests great resources in developing food technologies to improve its product’s profile.

“I applaud this international breakthrough in the field of chocolate, a product with a long-standing traditional recipe.

“Thanks to creativity, expertise and professionalism in the field, we have succeeded in producing a new and improved recipe, offering the consumer a line of products that are healthier while maintaining their great taste.

“Strauss will continue to work to improve its products by reviewing the recipes and providing technological solutions for their improvement.”

Sugar reduction remains a major obligation for food manufacturers as consumers continue to turn into products that offer healthier options while still meeting high expectations regarding naturalness, indulgence and sensory attributes.

This has seen confectionery giants including Nestle and Mondelez launch new variants with lower sugar innovations as the companies’ move to re-invent a consumer-focused portfolio.