Healthy indulgence: Guilt-free frozen desserts on the rise

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21 Mar 2018 --- Recent innovations in ingredients and processing techniques have deemed the phrase “Healthy indulgence” as far from oxymoronic. Consumers are seeking out indulgence, without the “guilt,” and a host of manufacturers have responded to provide indulgence with added health benefits. Lighter choice options have flooded the market, from reduced sugar content to lighter alcohol options and smaller portion sizes. Innova Market Insights data demonstrate that more than twice as many bakery launches featuring a “thin” and snacks featuring a “light(ly)” claim were reported in 2016 when compared to 2012. 

NutritionInsight takes a look at some guilt-free indulgence ideas within the frozen dessert and confectionary world. 

Ice cream with a drizzle of health
“In ice cream, we are moving from guilty pleasures (normal ice cream), via permissive indulgence (low calorie or low sugar ice cream) to healthy indulgence (low calorie and low sugar ice cream with health benefits),” Jaco Piepers, Owner of Koupe, tells NutritionInsight.

Typically, ice cream requires fat and sugar to achieve soft, creamy textures and rich, sweet flavors. A range of manufacturers Click to Enlargehave maneuvered their way around such undesirable traits and created healthy, yet indulgent ice cream ranges.

For protein ice-cream brand Koupe, whey was the key ingredient. 

“We worked from the idea that with whey protein we could achieve the same creaminess, while losing all the fat. We also reduced and replaced the sugar. This is how protein ice cream was born: not just to create an ice cream for people enjoying sports, but mainly to reinvent ice cream for people that wanted it delicious, but healthier,” says Piepers.

The resulting protein ice cream contains 13 grams of whey protein isolate. This is an ice-cream to count macros, not calories.

NutritionInsight has previously covered Volactive UltraWhey Velicious, a high protein whey concentrate powder. It can be added to products, such as frozen desserts to add that desired creamy mouthfeel and extra nutrition.

Whey based products that are in this market go beyond targeting post-fitness hunger. Koupe, for example, advertises as ideal for post-workout nutrition but also young women and men who enjoy desserts but want something beyond “permissive indulgence,” elderly people who need more protein in their diet and in the future, they state that “children are a very promising market.”

Bastian Hoermann, Product Manager Food, EMEAI WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients, explains to The World of Food Ingredients in the March 2018 issue how consumers are seeking a moment of pure peace and indulgence to contrast their busy lifestyles when picking a healthy indulgence treat.

To make these limited moments worthwhile, he goes on, the flavors must reflect pure indulgence such as “decadent inclusions, fillings and toppings, such as fruity ripple sauces or chocolate and caramel cores,” this, he predicts, will become more prevalent in the coming years.

Koupe reflects this trend prediction, as Piepers tells NutritionInsight how the salted caramel trend is set for a revival, and their own “Salted Caramel Koupe” will soon be launched.

Another route taken to elevate frozen desserts from a “permissible” treat to a “healthy” indulgence is the addition of fruit, vegetables and other natural ingredients. Jennifer Chaffin, Application Technologist at Sensient Flavors, spoke to The World of Food Ingredients on how this was a trend to watch.

“Not only do these appeal to consumers due to their “good-for-you” association but also because exotic fruits such as dragon fruit and superfoods such as kale and spinach add vivid colors into the products, creating visually appealing products that are sure to excite consumers on different levels.”

A flavor spectrum that differs from the norm can take a product from ordinary to special, especially for a consumer that is looking for a treat. In fact, Innova Market Insights data shows how “fantasy flavors,” such as jackfruit and passionfruit, have become increasingly popular. They can take the consumer on a taste journey and really pack-a-punch as a decadent and indulgent, yet healthy break from reality.

Overall, the healthy indulgence arena is set for growth: in ingredients, flavors and markets. Frozen desserts are only one small slice, and part two of this special report will be released next week, covering chocolate and confectionary.

By Laxmi Haigh

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