Nestlé has found a way to reduce nearly 40% of sugar in its confectioneries without affecting the taste.
The manufacturer of KitKat, Aero, BarOne and Peppermint Crisp has discovered a way to change the structure of sugar so that it tastes sweeter in smaller amounts.
Chief technology officer of Nestlé, Stefan Catsicas, said the process can be compared to making hollow sugar crystals. The crystals dissolve more quickly than solid sugar, stimulating the taste buds faster.
The product does not work in the sweetening of soft drinks.
‘The sugar crystals used to make the chocolate dissolves more quickly than solid sugar, stimulating the taste buds faster.’
Nestlé is patenting the process. Catsicas said the company would have preferred to make the announcement after receiving trademark protection, but, because of leaks in the industry decided to "tell its own story".
Nestlé expects to start using the new process by 2018.
Ravi Pillay, spokesman for Nestlé SA, said the company would begin to use the faster-dissolving sugar across a range of its confectionery products globally.
He added that since 2007 Nestlé's policy guidelines have included reducing sugars in its products. "We have already significantly reduced the amount of sugars across our portfolio, especially in children's products and are committed to make further progress in this regard."
However, Johannesburg dietician Nathalie Mat recommends restraint. "The change won't make chocolate a health food, so eat it to add enjoyment to your life, not to get healthy.
"If a bit of chocolate is the only sugar consumed during a day it's fine, but it's not fine - even if it contains less sugar - when it is added to a diet of fizzy drinks and sugar-coated cereals.
"I believe there is space for chocolate in our lives but I would suggest one with lots of cocoa solids."