No Added Sugar Choc Coated Raisins

Kcal: 439, Fats: 23.4g, Fat (Sats): 12.6g, Carbs: 45g (per 100g)

With all the health risks of obesity, diabetes, and every other ailment under the sun that sugar seems to be the cause of these days, a lot of us are trying to cut down on the white stuff. In a nation practically addicted to sugar, this is no easy task, especially if you are a chocoholic.

The obvious answer at first might be to stick purely to dark chocolate, but unless buying a couture brand, you will find that a lot dark chocolate on the shelves does not even reach 60% cacao, and is still loaded with sugar. The dark chocolate that does make it over the 70% threshold is an acquired taste that not everyone gets on with.

So in a search for a solution we often go for treats labelled as having ‘no added sugar’ or only ‘naturally occurring sugars’, as is the case with Neal’s Yard Wholefoods No Added Sugar Choc Coated Raisins, which I picked up from Holland & Barrett for £2.49.

Instead of sugar, these are described as a ‘xylitol alternative to milk chocolate’. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a natural sweetener in various products and has the same level of sweetness as sugar. The benefits of using xylitol is that is has about 33% fewer calories and is actually good for your teeth. Studies have proven that instead of causing tooth decay, xylitol can prevent it, which is why the ingredient is found in most chewing gums. When adding xylitol to chocolate, however, I somehow suspect that these teeth saving properties are drowned out.

Although the 125g bag is not especially attractive, I like the packaging for its simplicity and the fact that you can see the product inside. How many times have you bought pretty looking box concealing its contents, and then been disappointed when all is revealed? Transparency is key.

However, even if you can see what you’re buying, you cannot smell until the bag has been opened. If someone stuck these under your nose when your eyes were closed, you would not know they were there. They have no aroma whatsoever. Taste and smell are intrinsically linked, so the flavour will inevitably fall short.

Although the chocolate only has a mild taste, it is a pleasant one, and the raisins more than compensated for the subtle flavour. They are plump, sweet, and very juicy. The texture of the chocolate is a bit waxy, but once you bite through into the raisins that is irrelevant.

Do these No Added Sugar Choc Coated Raisins taste nice? Yes. Are they as good as the Sucrose equivalent? No. Would I be happy to swap them in order to cut down on my sugar intake? Most definitely.

Presentation: 7
Aroma: 5
Taste: 7.5
Sustenance: 8
Texture: 6
Overall: 6.7