Case: Switsbake makes sugar-free muffins with Eureba

There are tough requirements to market something as sugar-free. But Switsbake’s sugar-free vanilla muffins meet those requirements thanks to EUREBA®. In this interview, Swissbakes’ marketing manager talks about his experience with Eureba and plans for the future.

23 December 2022 •

Switsbake is a Swedish bak­ery pro­duc­ing tons of sponge cakes for food ser­vice and gro­cery stores. In a short time, they have man­aged to cre­ate a sug­ar-free sales suc­cess. Their sug­ar-free vanil­la muffins are the 16th best-sell­ing sponge cake of all those avail­able on the Swedish mar­ket in 2022.

– Anyone who pro­duces any kind of sponge cake is on the list. So it’s great to be so high up, says Magnus Jacobson, mar­ket­ing man­ag­er at Switsbake.

Sugar-free for real

Sugar-free means less than 500 mil­ligrams of sug­ar per 100 grams of muffins. And then we’re not just talk­ing about added sug­ars, but all sug­ars, includ­ing those nat­u­ral­ly present in the ingre­di­ents. It’s impres­sive to pro­duce such a muf­fin and dou­bly impres­sive to have it become a sales success.

– It shows a broad demand for cakes with less or no sug­ar. Many peo­ple want some­thing sweet with their cof­fee with­out con­sum­ing unnec­es­sary sugar.

The buyers are not who you might think

You might think that the most exten­sive cus­tomer seg­ment is those with dia­betes or a keen inter­est in their health. But no!

– Muffins are baked on wheat flour which pro­vides quick car­bo­hy­drates, and that’s some­thing peo­ple with dia­betes should avoid. So they’re not big buy­ers. And nei­ther are those with a great inter­est in their health.

So who buys Hägges sug­ar-free muffins?

– Our sug­ar-free muffins have reached a broad group, but we’ve had an out­stand­ing response from fam­i­lies with chil­dren. They have real­ly embraced them. We know from social media, emails and such that many peo­ple choose to give this option to their chil­dren because the par­ents are con­cerned that their chil­dren are get­ting too much sug­ar in their diet.

‘Baker at the drawing board’

Magnus Jacobson has a sol­id back­ground in the food indus­try. He has worked in the bev­er­age indus­try for Coca-Cola and Falcon beer brew­ery and was prod­uct man­ag­er for fast food bread, pas­try and cakes at Lantmännen Unibake, one of Europe’s largest bak­ery groups with 36 bak­eries in 21 countries.

He has worked as a mar­ket­ing man­ag­er at Switsbake for almost a decade. The role of mar­ket­ing man­ag­er nat­u­ral­ly includes sales and prod­uct development!

– I am a bak­er at the draw­ing board, says Magnus Jacobson and laughs. I come up with ideas, but our prod­uct devel­op­er, Krister Levin, turns them into real­i­ty. He’s an excel­lent bak­er, pas­try chef and food technician.

Trying it out

It is Krister Levin who has devel­oped Hägges sug­ar-free vanil­la muffins. His goal was to reduce the total amount of mono- and dis­ac­cha­rides to less than 500 mil­ligrams per 100 grams of muffins with­out com­pro­mis­ing the look, qual­i­ty or taste. That’s what it takes to cre­ate a prod­uct that con­sumers want, and that can be mar­ket­ed as sugar-free.

– It has tak­en a lot of tri­al and error and time, says Magnus Jacobson.

He explains that Switsbake has tried var­i­ous solu­tions to replace the sweet­ness of reg­u­lar sug­ar but has not been sat­is­fied until now. So what’s the difference?

– Eureba, answers Magnus Jacobson.

Eureba replaced the sugar

Replacing the sweet­ness of sug­ar is the least of the prob­lems of sug­ar reduc­tion. This can be done with a wide range of calo­rie-free sweet­en­ers, both those pro­duced arti­fi­cial­ly and those of nat­ur­al ori­gin. The chal­lenge is to replace the vol­ume and weight of the sug­ar, get the same mouth­feel and avoid prob­lems with micro­dos­ing and handling.

The solu­tion is sweet­ened fibres, which replaces sug­ar 1:1. It is dietary fibres that have been sweet­ened by bind­ing sug­ar alco­hol to each fibre and, in most cas­es, also a high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­er (for exam­ple ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides which are extract­ed from the plant ste­via). The trick is to shape the grains with just the right bal­ance of ingre­di­ents to make it taste as sweet and give the same mouth­feel as reg­u­lar sug­ar. The result is a pow­der or gran­ules that are com­plete­ly homo­ge­neous. It does not lay­er dur­ing trans­port or han­dling and does not dis­trib­ute uneven­ly dur­ing production.

Sweetened fibres are sold under the trade­mark EUREBA®. There are dif­fer­ent vari­ants for dif­fer­ent appli­ca­tions. The one Magnus Jacobson is refer­ring to has the pro­sa­ic name B-02.

Switsbake’s experience with Eureba

Magnus Jacobson:

– We have test­ed a few dif­fer­ent solu­tions, but we think Eureba B-02 is the one that has def­i­nite­ly worked best – taste-wise and prop­er­ty-wise. We think we get a very, very good qual­i­ty prod­uct. It doesn’t have a dif­fer­ent shelf life or any­thing dif­fer­ent from our oth­er prod­ucts. It has a look, qual­i­ty and taste that attracts con­sumers. We think we’ve done incred­i­bly well with this product.

Is Eureba deliv­er­ing on its promise to replace sug­ar 1:1?

– Yes, I think so.

How does Eureba work in your production?

– Eureba is very easy to han­dle in pro­duc­tion. It’s like any oth­er ingre­di­ent you put in the batter.

What do you think are the main advan­tages of Eureba?

– We don’t have to deal with a lot of small com­po­nents and mix­ing our­selves and so on. There is a sim­plic­i­ty to pro­duc­tion in the han­dling itself.

The elephant in the room

Switsbake uses the Eureba B-02, which is designed for bak­ing. The sweet­ness comes from the sug­ar alco­hol malti­tol. Steviol gly­co­sides can­not be used because they do not resist heat. Bulk and tex­ture come main­ly from dex­trin and some poly­dex­trose which are both dietary fibres.

Many con­sumers avoid prod­ucts with numer­ous chem­i­cal-sound­ing names in the ingre­di­ents list. Has there been any reac­tion to includ­ing these sub­stances in the list of ingredients?

– No, noth­ing, says Magnus Jacobson. We haven’t received any com­plaints about the con­tents, the dec­la­ra­tion of ingre­di­ents or any­thing like that.

The future of Eureba in Switsbake products

Will you use Eureba in more products?

– We are already using B-02 in a cook­ie-dough inclu­sion (put in ice cream) with suc­cess­ful results, Magnus Jacobson answers. Now we are look­ing at oth­er types of prod­ucts where we can use Eureba. For exam­ple, larg­er sponge cakes.

Switsbake has start­ed with your own con­sumer brand Hägges. Will you also use Eureba in your food­ser­vice products?

– Yes, we are also look­ing at food­ser­vice prod­ucts. We start­ed with Hägges to get quick feed­back from end con­sumers. It takes less than a week from launch before we are avail­able in all of Sweden’s gro­cery stores. This is high­ly pos­i­tive, says Magnus Jacobson.

He also reports great inter­est from cor­po­rate customers:

– The big food chains want food pro­duc­ers to reduce sug­ar in prod­ucts. And we are lead­ing the way. This has led to a lot of inquiries from oth­er com­pa­nies. And also to requests for the pro­duc­tion of pri­vate-label prod­ucts. Obviously, we will take care of that and deliv­er on it.

Increasing demand

It’s a sign of the times that Switsbake – a com­pa­ny that made its name as a pro­duc­er of meringues and now bakes tons of sponge cakes – is lead­ing the way. More and more peo­ple are demand­ing prod­ucts with less sug­ar, and there is a grow­ing mar­ket for sug­ar-free or reduced-sug­ar products.

– We see a big mar­ket and a sig­nif­i­cant demand; since we launched this prod­uct, we have made giant leaps that we have not made in pre­vi­ous attempts. I would like to see a broad­er devel­op­ment of this type of prod­uct. It would ben­e­fit health. And I would like the bak­ery indus­try, which is very much asso­ci­at­ed with sweet­ness, to take the lead, con­cludes Magnus Jacobson.

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