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Nestlé introduces breakthrough technology that reduces intrinsic sugars in key ingredients

Nestlé reports it has introduced a versatile and cost-effective sugar reduction technology that can be applied across different product categories, with benefits beyond sugar reduction.

Using a patented enzymatic process, it claims to reduce intrinsic sugar in ingredients such as malt, milk, and fruit juices by up to 30%, with a minimal impact on taste and texture. The sugar-reduced ingredients are then used in recipes for various products. There is no need to add sweeteners or bulking agents to replace the volume of the eliminated sugar.

It can also be used to produce low lactose and skimmed milk-based products, while reducing total sugars – and there’s more! When applied to milk-based products, it also increases prebiotic fibres.

First clinical studies have shown that these fibres can support the growth of multiple types of beneficial bacteria leading to a favourable microbiome composition in healthy adults.

“Sugar reduction across our portfolio remains a top priority. This new technology is a true breakthrough, as we can reduce sugar without adding sweeteners while preserving a great taste, all at a minimal cost increase.”

Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer

“In addition,” Palzer said, “Our scientists discovered that the sugar reduction generates prebiotic fibres that support the microbiome, which is an additional benefit. We are now accelerating the global roll-out across formats and categories.”

The sugar reduction has been piloted in cocoa and malt-based RTD beverages in Southeast Asia and over the past year, Nestlé has already introduced it in factory lines for cocoa and malt-based powdered beverages such as Milo across several countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Since 2021, the sugar reduction technology has been applied to over 200 000 tons of cocoa and malt-based beverages. The roll-out continues, and other product categories such as dairy powders will follow.

The development of novel technologies, says the press release, is part of Nestlé’s continuous efforts to improve the nutritional value of its products, while supporting responsible consumption as part of a balanced diet.

“The new sugar reduction technology complements a wide range of existing solutions which Nestlé has developed over the years in collaboration with external innovation partners and suppliers.

“This includes natural sweeteners, sweetness-enhancing or bitterness masking flavors, as well as natural bulking agents such as fibres, cereals and tailor-made dairy and cocoa powders.” Insights

With many people still loving sugar but trying to curtail their consumption, the ability to reduce consumption while maintaining the same taste could be a major discovery for a company such as Nestlé.

Functional ingredient supplier Beneo recently noted that 57% of consumers said “low in sugar” claims influence their purchasing decisions. A recent Kerry study found that about seven in 10 respondents said they are reducing their sugar consumption to live a healthier life.

The global reduced sugar food and beverage market reached $46.18-billion in 2021, according to Grandview Research. It is forecast to post a compound annual growth rate of 8.9% from 2022 to 2030 due largely to increased demand for healthy and low-sugar foods and drinks.

The impetus is on food and beverage manufacturers of all sizes to respond.

At Nestlé, which posted $110-billion in sales globally in 2022, having the ability to bring the new technology to other product categories could be huge. It could cut sugar from a wide array of items, and bring the company closer to achieving its goal of making its offerings healthier. Earlier this year, Nestlé said 37% of its net sales, excluding pet care and specialised nutrition, come from products that are considered “healthy.”

This is not the first time Nestlé has taken aim at reducing sugar.

In 2016, it announced what it called a “groundbreaking” discovery in sugar reduction that reduced the sweetener by 30%. Two years later it introduced Milkybar Wowsomes lower-sugar chocolate bar in the UK and Ireland. But in 2020, discontinued its Milkybar Wowsomes amid low sales and a struggle to sustain distribution.

Source: Nestlé,

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