Nestle touts new technology to reduce sugar in chocolate

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LONDON: Nestle, the world’s largest packaged food group, said it had devised a new technology that has the potential to reduce sugar in some of its confectionery products by up to 40 percent without affecting the taste.
The maker of Kitkat and Aero bars said its researchers have found a way using only natural ingredients to change the structure of sugar particles. By hollowing out the crystals, Nestle said each particle dissolves more quickly on the tongue, so less sugar can be used in chocolate.
“Our scientists have discovered a completely new way to use a traditional, natural ingredient,” the company’s chief technology officer, Stefan Catsicas, said in a statement, cited by Reuters.
The announcement comes as a global obesity epidemic ramps up pressure on processed food makers to make their products healthier.
Nestle and its peers have all been working to reduce sugar, fat and salt, as consumers increasingly opt for fresher, healthier options.
Nestle said it was patenting its findings and would begin to use the faster-dissolving sugar across a range of its confectionery products from 2018.
Nestle is not the first company to experiment with designer molecules.
PepsiCo. in 2010 piloted a designer salt molecule that it said would allow it to use less sodium without affecting the taste of its snacks, which include Walkers crisps and Cheetos.
The company expects to provide more details about the first roll-out of reduced-sugar confectionery sometime next year. The research will accelerate Nestle’s efforts to meet its continued public commitment to reducing sugar in its products. It is one of a wide range of commitments the company has made on nutrition.
This includes improving the nutritional profile of its products by reducing the amount of sugar, salt and saturated fat they contain, while at the same time as increasing healthier nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and whole grain.
It is hard to generalize about how much sugar is in chocolate, as it varies from brand to brand, according to a BBC report.
But milk chocolate is typically 50 percent sugar — some of which comes from the milk used, it added.
White chocolate could be as much as 60 percent sugar. The amount of sugar in dark chocolate is highly variable.
It can be as much as 40 percent, but it can have no sugar in it at all, although most people would consider that much too bitter.
Professor Julian Cooper, chair of the Scientific Committee at the Institute of Food Science and Technology, said in the BBC report that Nestle’s development was important. “This is good science. A lot of people have been looking at sugar trying to reduce the amount.”
He said this would give Nestle products that use the adapted sugar the “halo-effect,” in that people may think they can eat more.
But Professor Cooper, who has worked in sugar for 40 years, said in the BBC report Nestle’s patents could spur rivals to make similar advances: “A patent is a double-edged sword. Although it protects what you have done it also tells your rivals about it.”
Nestle has been cutting sugar across its range of products since 2007 when it introduced a “global policy on sugar reduction.”

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