Nestle's sweet find: Same taste, 40% less sugar

GENEVA • Nestle has said it has discovered a way to cut the amount of sugar that goes into its Kit Kat, Butterfinger and other candy bars, but without affecting the taste.

The Swiss food giant's scientists said the breakthrough will allow the company to cut sugar content by up to 40 per cent. The sweetness of the chocolate and other confectionery products will be unchanged.

"Our scientists have discovered a completely new way to use a traditional, natural ingredient," Nestle chief technology officer Stefan Catsicas said in a statement late on Wednesday. "It is sugar, but it is assembled differently so it can disassemble easily in your mouth with less going into your gastrointestinal tract," he added.

The researchers stressed that "even when much less is used in chocolate, your tongue perceives an almost identical sweetness to before".

The company said it was patenting its findings and would begin using the faster-dissolving sugar across a range of its confectionery products starting in 2018.

The World Health Organisation has long said sugar should make up less than 10 per cent of a person's total daily energy intake, and now urges countries to lower the bar to 5 per cent.

That would mean consuming no more than 25g or the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar a day - less than the 10 teaspoons in the average can of soda.

Using less sugar has potentially massive cost savings for companies. Food and beverage makers are under increasing pressure to provide healthier alternatives to sugar-laden products, which have in part been blamed for swelling obesity and diabetes rates around the globe.

Nestle might eventually sell its new sugar to other food companies for use in their products, Dr Catsicas said. But he added that "it is not something that can be mixed into your coffee".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2016, with the headline 'Nestle's sweet find: Same taste, 40% less sugar'. Print Edition | Subscribe