Sweet-makers in the city are gradually shifting from use of sugar as an ingredient to jaggery and probiotic agents to make the dessert healthier for sweet aficionados and appeal to generation-z who avoid sweets as they consider them unhealthy.
“We are trying to make jaggery a substitute for sugar. Date palm and tal palm plantations in Jaynagar and Bohru in South 24 Parganas are being funded by us so that we can procure a steady supply of jaggery required to prepare sweets,” said Mishti Udyog (sweets and savouries entrepreneurs’ association of Bengal) president Dhiman Das.
With Bengal being referred to as the diabetes capital of India, children and youngsters are more health conscious than their parents and grandparents and they have not developed a sweet tooth. Realising this would result in a sharp decline for the industry, the association has decided to adapt to the changing taste and preference and adopt healthier ingredients to make the sweets.
“Jaggery has a lower glycaemic index than sugar. Thus, when jaggery sweets are sold in winter, overall sale increases by 40%,” said Das who is also the owner of KC Das.
“We are trying to innovate and explore different possibilities to make sweets interesting for the next generation. We are also working closely with research organisations. We are using probiotics to make sweets much more acceptable to the next generation, who are health conscious and avoid sugars. We are constantly looking for alternative sweeteners. Stevia is coming bit expensive. We are thinking of tal jaggery and date jaggery extensively. But we need steadier supply of jaggery round the year,” said Nilanjan Ghosh, general secretary, Mishti Udyog and owner of Mithai.
On Monday, leading sweet manufacturers of the city met at Bengal Club to hold Mishti Adda to announce diversification in manufacturing and sign business development MoU with Bengal Business Council for promotion of healthier sweets and savouries globally and across the nation. They inked MoU with IIHM for technical and skill development training.