But startup Joydays has devised a way for health-conscious consumers to “joyfully indulge” in their favorite snacks without compromising their health or feeling “othered” by a medical condition or dietary need.
“Eating brings joy to everyone … and eating healthier also does because it just makes you feel better,” said company CEO Amy Cohn, who explained at Natural Products Expo East that she created Joydays Foods out of a personal need and one which more Americans than not also share.
As a colon cancer survivor, Cohn explained that she must carefully manager her diet to avoid blood sugar spikes that could trigger a recurrence, placing her in the same camp as the estimated 51% of US consumers who also must manage their blood sugar due to diabetes or pre-diabetes as well as other diet-related chronic diseases.
But, she said, that doesn’t mean she wanted to give up her favorite foods or restrict herself to the few “medicinal” options on the market, which she described as “embarrassing.” Rather, she said she wants to enjoy the same snacks – and cookies – as others, which is why she said she “created a brand that was meant for everybody.”
Joydays worked with diabetes dietitians, the former president of the American Diabetes Association, and a top chef to create a line of soft, chewy cookies with the nostalgic flavors, and plans to introduce additional snacks in the future.
Joydays’ sugar reduction strategy leans on allulose, monk fruit and date paste
Cohn said the team worked hard to replicate the sweet taste of conventional soft cookies without using sugar alcohols or stevia – opting instead to use allulose, monk fruit and date paste.
To reproduce the technical benefits of sugar – like browning – Cohn said the company used “the right combination of flours” and borrowed color from the low-sugar chocolate chips, while it relied on other low-glycemic binders to recreate the cookies’ taste and feel.
The company also leans on a combination of fibers to further recreate the technical benefits of sugar in the baking process while also adding a nutrient of value that most Americans do not consume enough.
“We need more fiber. The majority of people are supposed to have 35 grams a day. The average American gets 10,” Cohn said, adding that key consideration in creating Joydays’ cookies was how to boost the fiber content to offer a sustained energy and avoid a blood sugar spike.
The fiber – a whopping 5 grams per servince sourced from Jerusalem artichoke inulin and a soluble corn fiber inulin, also helps offset the impact of carbs in the snacks and lower the net-carb count.