Researchers at Nestle said they have found a new way to drastically cut sugar content in chocolate by up to 40%.
Nestle told Bloomberg that the process involves altering the structure of the sugar. Exactly how this works remains strictly secret, the company is still waiting to patent the process. But Nestle's Chief Technology Officer, Stefan Catsicas, that essentially it creates "hollow" sugar crystals, which dissolve quickly in the mouth.
The announcement comes as Americans are increasingly looking to cut down on their sugar intake and search for healthier alternatives. And Nestle is following other brands that are starting to take notice of public awareness over the high sugar content in certain foods and drinks. In October, Pepsi announced that by 2025, two thirds of its drinks will have 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per 12 oz serving. And voters in four major U.S. cities voted in favor of imposing a soda tax on high-sugar beverages.
In November, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg—a long-time crusader against sugary soda drinks—donated $18 million to ballot measures proposing to increase soda taxes.
Nestle plans to start selling products made using the new sugar crystal process in 2018, according to Bloomberg.
“We want people to get used to a different taste, a taste that would be more natural. We really want to be the drivers of the solution,” said Catsicas. He added that unprocessed foods have an "uncomplicated" structure, with a rough texture, and that's what they were trying to recreate in their sugar-reducing process.
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"Real food in nature is not something smooth and homogeneous. It’s full of cavities, crests and densities. So by reproducing this variability, we are capable to restore the same sensation," he said."
The result, Catsicas said, is a chocolate bar with less sugar content and a more natural taste. According to Bloomberg, Nestle is yet to announce its 2017 goals for cutting sugar use.