Nestle is bringing its first chocolate bar made with its new sugar reduction technology to market this week in the U.K. and Ireland, according to CNBC. Milkybar Wowsomes, which contain no artificial sweeteners, are labeled as containing 30% less sugar.
The company's scientists have developed "an aerated, porous sugar that dissolves more quickly in the mouth," Nestle said in a release. It allows a person to perceive the same level of sweetness but still consume less sugar.
The Swiss firm first announced its sugar breakthrough in 2016, but it took the company's researchers in Switzerland, the U.K. and the Czech Republic more than a year to adapt the innovation for the Milkybar. Nestle said it has committed to reducing sugar in its products by another 5% on average by 2020.
While the Nestle sugar appears to be a major breakthrough, it does come with some limitations. The way this new sugar is structured means it will only remain stable in dry products. The innovation won't work well in beverages because the sugar would dissolve before the consumer could drink the product. Still, Nestle remains upbeat because it may be able to reduce sugar in other confectionery products by as much as 40%.
Once the company is able to incorporate the restructured sugar in other products across its portfolio, it may want to offer the product to other manufacturers looking to reduce sugar content without relying on artificial sweeteners or even natural solutions like stevia or erythritol. Consumer rejection of sugar shows no sign of slowing down — nearly half (47%) of global consumers demand food with limited or no added sugar — so Nestle's ingredient innovation could prove to be a lucrative and coveted asset.
It remains to be seen whether the Swiss company will launch any products in the U.S. containing the new sugar product. Nestle is selling its U.S. chocolate business to Italy's Ferrero, the maker of Ferrero Rocher and Nutella, so it may decide to wait, keep testing the product, and at some point use it in Dreyer's, Haagen-Dazs or some other dessert and snack items.
As Nestle continues to roll out this technology, other confectioners may try to create sugar-reduction innovations of their own. Countless manufacturers have introduced new versions of indulgence products made with less sugar or sweetened with alternative ingredients, but this often results in a changed mouthfeel, flavor and sweetness level. A product made with less sugar but the same level of perceived sweetness is a powerful pitch and one that will vault Nestle in front of competitors unless they catch up with innovations of their own.