Nestlé has figured out a way to reduce the amount of sugar used in its products without changing the taste—by reshaping the structure of sugar crystals.
“So even when much less is used in chocolate, your tongue perceives an almost identical sweetness to before,” the company, which makes Kit-Kats, Aeros, and Butterfingers, said in a statement. Food scientists at the world’s largest food manufacturer say they can eliminate up to 40% of the total sugar in confectionery products.
Milk chocolate, for example, is typically made of 50% sugar.
The technological accomplishment has major implications for the company and consumers. It will allow Nestlé to respond to mounting pressure by public health groups and government health agencies for people to scale back the sugar in their diets. It also gives the company a way to manage sweetness in its foods without turning to artificial sweeteners—such as aspartame—which have proven controversial in the past.
The reduction of sugar in food products is one of several overarching goals Nestlé has set for itself. The company has about 40 research and development facilities across the globe, where it spends close to $2 billion each year.
Nestlé is patenting the process and said it will be rolling out its new sugar method in 2018.