Nestle to slash sugar content of its confectionery by a tenth

Confectionery brand Nestle has vowed an across the board reduction of 10% in the sugar content of its chocolate and sweets in the UK and Ireland by 2018.

Recipe changes will affect some of Britain’s best known chocolate brands including Milkybar, Yorkie, Smarties and Quality Street.

It is estimated that this one change will reduce the amount of sugar used by 7,500 tonnes versus 2015 levels and comes in the wake of a threatened ‘sugar tax’ by the UK government to force manufacturers to make healthier products.

In lieu of sugar Nestle plans to use higher quantities of existing ingredients or to source natural alternatives to keep calorie counts down and has already ruled out the use of artificial sweeteners.

A spokesperson for food and drink multinational said: “The 10% reduction is not a case of a straight swap of sugar for another ingredient – it will be achieved in a number of different ways so that we can make sure that the taste is as good or better from product to product.

“We are not announcing specific changes to brands at this stage but over the coming months and years we will introduce revised products that make incremental reductions on sugar in different ways that, when added up, make a big difference overall to the nation’s diet while still maintaining taste.”

Nestle has invested heavily in sourcing alternatives to sugar and recently claimed to have made a breakthrough by reformulating sugar to allow them to reduce volume by 40% while maintaining taste.

In recent months drinks brands Lucozade, Orangina and Ribena took steps to reduce sugar content by 50% ahead of a targetted 2018 implementation date for the sugar tax.

On the digital front, Nestlé's digital boss Pete Blackshaw, recently gave a run down of the company's thoughts on Snapchat, he said: "Facebook can’t ignore it, and neither can we."