- Nestlé introduced what it described as a “versatile and cost-effective” sugar reduction technology that can be used in different product categories, the company said in a statement.
- The Switzerland-based food maker said its “breakthrough technology” uses an enzymatic process to reduce intrinsic sugar in ingredients such as malt, milk and fruit juices by up to 30%, with a minimal impact on taste and texture.
- Despite aiming to cut back on sugar consumption, many shoppers and food manufacturers still value the popular sweetener. Nearly two-thirds of global consumers think sugar is important in food and drink because it tastes good, according to research released last month by Kerry.
With many people still loving sugar but trying to curtail their consumption, the ability to reduce how much is used while maintaining the same taste could be a major discovery for a company such as Nestlé.
Functional ingredient supplier Beneo recently noted that 57% of consumers said “low in sugar” claims influence their purchasing decisions. The Kerry study added that about seven in 10 respondents said they are reducing their sugar consumption to live a healthier life.
The global reduced sugar food and beverage market reached $46.18 billion in 2021, according to Grandview Research. It is forecast to post a compound annual growth rate of 8.9% from 2022 to 2030 due largely to increased demand for healthy and low-sugar foods and drinks.
The impetus is on food and beverage manufacturers of all sizes to respond.
"Sugar reduction across our portfolio remains a top priority,” Stefan Palzer, Nestlé chief technology officer, said in a statement. “This new technology is a true breakthrough, as we can reduce sugar without adding sweeteners while preserving a great taste, all at a minimal cost increase. ... We are now accelerating the global roll-out across formats and categories.”
Nestlé, which sells Nesquik, Toll House chocolate chips and Lean Cuisine in the U.S., said the sugar reduction process has been tested in cocoa and malt-based ready-to-drink beverages in Southeast Asia. During the past year, Nestlé has already introduced it in factory lines for cocoa and malt-based powdered beverages such as Milo across several countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The world’s largest food company said the process will be applied to other product categories such as dairy powders.
When the patented sugar reduction method is applied to milk-based products, it also increases prebiotic fibers, Nestlé added. Prebiotics fibers are not digested by a person’s body but can help them grow so-called “good bacteria” in their gut. Prebiotics have been a major beneficiary as people look to eat healthier.
At Nestlé, which posted $110 billion in sales globally in 2022, having the ability to bring the new technology to other product categories could be huge. It could cut sugar from a wide array of items, and bring the company closer to achieving its goal of making its offerings healthier. Earlier this year, Nestlé said 37% of its net sales, excluding pet care and specialized nutrition, come from products that are considered “healthy.”
This is not the first time Nestlé has taken aim at reducing sugar.
In 2016, Nestlé announced what it called a “groundbreaking” discovery in sugar reduction that reduced the sweetener by 30%. Two years later it introduced Milkybar Wowsomes lower-sugar chocolate bar in the U.K. and Ireland. But in 2020, Nestlé discontinued its Milkybar Wowsomes amid low sales and a struggle to sustain distribution.