McVities joins the list of sugar reduction challengers

One of the major themes to emerge from ISM in Cologne this month was a sense that consumers, more than ever, are looking for healthier product options.

As far as the confectionery sector is concerned, the issue has posed potential barriers, namely for key components including sugar, salt and fat remaining vital components.

There have been some notable recent attempts at sugar reduction – with Nestle releasing its Milkybar Wowsome bars two years ago, only for these to be withdrawn two months ago due to reportedly ‘underwhelming demand.’

The company has since moved on to other reduced sugar options, including a KitKat in Japan that has been designed with 40% less sugar than other competitors. So, the jury still out on what impact such efforts will have in the medium to long term.

What is certain, is that much was promised with Wowsomes, arriving to much fanfare over what was said to be an innovative restructuring sugar content process that was hoped would be game changing.

Perhaps it’s the case, at least to some degree, that we all like the thought of being healthier with our food choices, but when it comes to it, our treats are by definition supposed to be an occasional indulgence.

There have of course been others to dip their toe in the reduced sugar market, such as Cadbury, offering 30% cuts for its Dairy Milk series.

Meanwhile, the likes of British business Plamil has reported strong interest in its no added sugar versions of its chocolate bars, using coconut as a base for sweetening.

For its part, McVities has just entered the fray in the biscuit segment, with manufacturer Pladis looking to take up to 9% of sugar from the brand’s classic digestive range, with the company firmly training its eyes on reformulation breakthroughs.

Consequently, it’s probably more than likely that a relatively modest reduction in sugar will be more palatable with consumers, with taste profiles being unlikely to be radically different. Only time will tell if they will prove successful.

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