Sugar-Free & Reduced-Calorie Candy & Chocolate
With a constantly dieting population plus a diabetic and pre-diabetic group of 33 million Americans who must refrain from sugar, there’s a huge amount of sugar-free candy on the market. Quality of taste varies widely, and price is not necessarily an indicator. Products made with maltitol, a sugar alcohol, generally taste great—we prefer it to sucrose, table sugar.*
Sales of sugar-free, low-sugar, and low-fat candies in the U.S. quadrupled between 2000 and 2004. Demanded by diabetics and dieters, in 2004 consumers bought an estimated $495 million in diet candy, compared with $118 million four years earlier.† In comparison, the overall candy market has grown just 1% to 2% per year.
Leading the growth are huge companies like Russell Stover and Hersheys, which have developed better artificial sweetener blends to make diet versions of their popular candies more palatable to mass audiences. However, there is still a noticeable gap in taste between the regular and diet versions. Specialty food manufacturers, on the other hand, use the best ingredients available—the finest chocolate and maltitol, e.g.—and as a result have created gourmet chocolates that can pass for “the real thing.” We think products like the sugar-free marshmallows from La Nouba taste even better than most made with sugar. Vere (pronounced very), a new artisanal chocolatier, has created a line of beautiful bonbons and truffles that are low glycemic, high fiber, and all natural—no artificial sweeteners—made of top quality Arriba (Nacional) chocolate from Ecuador.
Look for more excitement, in both gourmet and mass brands. “It’s a very untapped market and as we see innovations in that market we’re going to see more interest as well,” said Susan Fussell, a spokeswoman for the National Confectioners Association.
In this section, we’ll point you to some of the products we’d be happy to eat, whether or not we’re watching our sugar intake. If you have a favorite sugar-free candy, use the Contact Us link on this page to tell us about it.
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