Nestlé to Cut Sugar From All of Their Sweets in UK and Ireland by 2018

Wednesday 8th March 2017

Confectionary company Nestlé have pledged to cut 7,500 tonnes of sugar from their UK and Ireland lines of sweets by next year, without switching to artificial sweeteners, the company announced yesterday, in a reaction to public concerns about just how much sugar is in our food.

Nestlé has claimed they will use a range of measures, including replacing sugar with higher qualities of existing ingredients, other non-artificial ingredients and a claimed breakthrough that allows their scientists to “structure sugar differently” in order to reduce sugar usage by up to 40% without affecting the taste of their products.

This news comes in the wake of various confectionary and soft drinks companies reacting to increasing pressure from the public as well as public health bodies on the amount of sugar contained in food and drink. Public Health England launched their “Be Food Smart” campaign, aimed at educating people on the levels of sugar, salt and fat content different food and products contain, after it was revealed that children are eating three times the recommended daily amount of sugar for children.

Public Health England welcomed the move from Nestlé, noting that it sent a “clear message” that even in products traditionally harder to change, reducing sugar is still possible.

With the threat of a sugar levy being a profitability threat to a number of confectionary companies, an increasing number of sweet and snack companies are taking greater measures to cut the number of calories, amount of sugar and amount of saturated fat in their foods. This is one of the motivators, along with rising commodity prices for measures such as the reduction in size of chocolate bars.

Nestlé who market a number of different brands including Kit Kat, Munchies, Lion, Smarties, Quality Street, Rolo and Yorkie, among many others, would be particularly susceptible to a sugar tax, and as such these measures, along with more general measures to reduce sugar content should be taken as a way to protect profits as much as a conscientious move to improve the health of the nation.

It is a positive step that greater measures are being taken by companies to reduce the effect of the product, although this should come with greater education on the overall effect of sugar on our health. Along with causing damage to teeth, the effects of consuming too much have been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and a number of cancers.

Moreover, it is a positive step that companies, whether for commercial or ethical reasons are being more mindful of the effects of their product on their consumers. While moderation is key, and many if not most confectionary companies will agree with this, providing healthier options can only help people lead healthier lives and allow them to be more informed about what they choose to eat. How effective Nestlé’s individual endeavours to cut sugar will be remains to be seen, but for one of the biggest sweet companies in the world to push for such a reduction can only be a positive thing in the long run.