The company intends to begin incorporating the process into its products in 2018
The world's largest food company claims to have figured out a way to reduce the amount of sugar in chocolate by 40 percent.
According to Bloomberg, Nestle Chief Technology Officer Stefan Catsicas says that scientists working at the company developed a method of changing the structure of sugar in a way that makes it taste sweeter in smaller amounts. Catsicas did not specify the steps involved in the process.
The food company will begin to sell confectionery products made with this method in 2018, he stated, and will gradually reduce the amount of sugar in the items.
"We want people to get used to a different taste, a taste that would be more natural," Catsicas said. "We really want to be the drivers of the solution."
Nestle is working on patenting the process, which Catsicas compared to making "hollow" sugar crystals. These crystals, he said, dissolve more quickly and stimulate the taste buds more quickly. The company is attempting to mimic the complex structures present in unprocessed food by distributing the sugar in its products in a less uniform way.
"If you look with an electron microscope into an apple, that's exactly what you see," he explained. "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."
Catsicas said that Nestle—which also makes the Butterfinger and Cailler brands—is planning to reduce the amount of sugar gradually in order to avoid sudden changes in the taste of its chocolate. He compared the plan to his own experience reducing the amount of sugar he takes in his coffee. He started off making a small reduction every week in how much sugar he put in, and after three months, he was taking the coffee without any sugar at all.
Nestle joins Modelez and PepsiCo in its attempts to develop healthier products and reduce dependence on products infused with unhealthy sugar and salt. Reuters reports that PepsiCo developed a salt molecule in 2010 that it claimed would enable it to use less sodium in its snacks without affecting the taste.
The U.K., Mexico, and some cities in the U.S. have put sugar taxes in place in an effort to combat childhood obesity and diabetes, says Reuters, which affects four times more people than in 1980. According to the World Health Organization, raising the price of sugary beverages by 20 percent would reduce the amount of such beverages consumed by one fifth.