And the French group is confident that this trend is likely to continue.
Sales of food and beverage categories considered by consumers as being unhealthy are, in general, falling. Combined with growing regulatory pressure on the industry to provide healthier food, this provides a strong incentive for food makers to invest in new ingredients.
"By taking advantage of the many nutritional and technical properties offered by two different ingredients polyols and soluble fibre confectionery products are possible that are not only sugar-free but also safe for teeth, low in calories, rich in fibre and suitable for diabetics and produce a low glycaemic response," said Yves Le Bot, Roquette global confectionery development manager.
In order to further tap this growing market, the company has recently developed a recipe for high-chew sugar-free chewy sweets. The extra 'chew' is provided by a combination of mannitol, Lycasin 80/55 maltitol syrup and Nutriose 06 soluble fibre.
The firm said that other food products could also benefit from such combinations. "Sugar-free pound cakes, muffins and sponge cake can be high in fibre, deliver long-lasting energy and still remain delicious," said the company in a statement.
In addition, Roquette has recently developed no-sugar-added and source-of-fibre hamburger buns that are sweet and are claimed to have the same colour and texture as original buns. A combination of Nutriose FB 06 and Maltisorb P 200 maltitol powder was used to achieve this result.
And in the field of beverages, Roquette recently reported success in formulating a good-tasting sugar-free syrup. Routin, the second largest French syrup producer after Teisseire, launched a sugar-free fruit syrup using Roquette's Nutriose FB06 product earlier this year.
The company claimed that the soluble fibre ingredient compensates for the lack of body and mouthfeel traditionally associated with sugar-free drinks, and also beings some added health benefits.
The light drinks sector represents around 20 per cent of the soft drinks market in volume in France, according to Roquette.