Mars Wrigley Confectionery joins the sugar reduction drive

The announcement from Mars Wrigley Confectionery that it intends to release new UK sugar-reduced versions of its core Mars and Snickers bars is something which comes as little surprise.

Following government body Public Health England’s drive to encourage manufacturers to reduced sugar content by 20% by 2020, it has been confectionery companies that have been singled out as making among the least progress on the issue.

An initial target of a 5% reduction in sugar content from the sector was some distance off being met, though there are now signs of a clear response from the industry.

Perhaps the most development has been from Nestlé, with its Milkybar Wowsomes. The bars are 30% reduced in sugar over their regular equivalents, and they have been developed in the wake of serious concerns over childhood health.

The company has stressed this has taken considerable research and development in creating what it terms ‘structured sugar’ that can perform in a similar manner to its conventional bars in terms of product taste.

Such announcements come in the context of a recent study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UK in fact has the highest instances of obesity in Western Europe, with 26.9% of the population considered to be overweight.

Other manufacturers have joined the move towards presenting healthier ranges within overall product portfolios, with Mondelez International set to produce a 30% sugar reduced Cadbury Dairy Milk bar within months.

So, the decision from Mars to present its classic Mars in a “More Protein’ variety offering sugar reduction of 40% for its bars (as well as including 10g of protein), may potentially prove a game-changing move for the company.

Its Snickers bars will also be available in 30% sugar-reduced form, which means consumers will shortly have a growing array of options that will demonstrate that product reformulating is a viable commercial option within the industry.

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