JJ’s Sweets is about three things: Bliss, Innovation and Mindfulness. To that end we are always looking for the next delicious treat that is innovative and better-for-you and the environment. That’s why we’ve created a new Cocomel that replaces organic evaporated cane syrup with organic coconut sugar. This new caramel is unique and delicious and recently received the Good Food award. (See the product here: Coconut Palm Sugar Cocomels.)
So, why coconut sugar? For multiple reasons: First, it’s delicious! It has a caramelized sugar flavor similar to brown sugar, with slight molasses-like overtones. It is delightfully complex in flavor due to its lower level of refinement and the multitude of minerals that are present. Second, it is more healthful than many sweeteners. It contains lots of minerals and is one of the lowest glycemic index sweeteners available.
Interestingly, coconut sugar is also the traditional sweetener in South East Asia, having been used for millennia. People would harvest the nectar from the coconut flower and boil it down to a rich syrup that would harden into cakes to be used in all manner of recipes. It is empowering to local growers and is beneficial to the environment.
In sourcing coconut sugar, JJ’s Sweets has partnered with Big Tree Farms, the leading sustainable producer of this ingredient. Big Tree Farms has developed what is currently the largest and most transparent organic certified supply chain for coconut sweeteners in the world. They work on-farm with over 5,000 smallholder farmers in Indonesia and have initiated similar programs with poor farmer groups in Sri Lanka, Cambodia and The Philippines. We are very proud of our partnership with them.
Making Cocomels with coconut sugar was no easy task, however. All the minerals and different flavors meant that achieving a balance was quite difficult. We had to alter a variety of our techniques and go through many “lesser” batches over long days to achieve something we were proud of – but, we believed, the many environmental and health benefits of using this sweetener were worth the effort. Even then, the coconut sugar Cocomels are more of an “advanced” caramel in the sense that they have a lot going on, are less sweet and may not appeal to everyone. We do think, however, we hit on something that is delicious, unique and is obviously well regarded enough to win an award.
In conclusion: we are extremely excited to work with this ingredient to bring you a new and truly delicious caramel creation. We hope you enjoy it. See below for some facts by our friends at Big Tree Farms on the multiple ways that organic coconut sugar is better for you, the planet and the producers:
- Coconut sugar, when pure, is naturally low on the Glycemic Index (GI), which has benefits for weight control and improving glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2).
- Our coconut sugar averages between 32 – 38 on the GI. We test our finished products regularly to ensure purity and GI index.
- Coconut sugar provides slow release energy, which sustains the human body through your daily activities without regular sugar “highs” and “lows”
- Coconut sugar has a nutritional content far richer than all other commercially available sweeteners.
- Coconut sugar is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron and is a natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.
- Our coconut sugar is pure flower blossom nectar, unrefined, unbleached and a preservative-free whole sweetener.
- Our coconut sugar is the world’s first Certified Fair Trade coconut sugar, ensuring that social standards are audited and of the highest standards.
- Big Tree Farms, works with international NGO’s in order to maintain transparent, socially equitable supply chains.
- Our sustainable supply chain manages direct producer programs in value addition education and practice, market access and small business/cooperative management.
- Through market access and production training, smallholder sugar-tappers have risen well above the poverty line and are able to earn an increase in personal income of close to 200% while maintaining a competitive market price as a cane sugar alternative!
- Coconut palm sweeteners are considered to be one of the single most sustainable sweeteners in the world!
- Coconut Palms produce an average of 75% more sugar per acre than sugar cane and less than 1/5th the nutrients for that production.
- Organic Coconut Palm Sugars are not produced from the same palm species as is used for the production of Palm Oil.
- Tropical palms are an ecologically beneficial tree crop that grows in diverse, wildlife supportive agro ecosystems, restore damaged soils and require very little water.
- Many traditional communities throughout the world consider Coconut Palms the “Tree of Life”, as they provide over 100 smallholders accessible products from which they earn their livelihoods. The production of SWEET TREE Organic Coconut Palm Sugar has the single highest potential for lifting these farmers into a better life while creating a net benefit to their surrounding environment.