Post #29: Too good to be true? Chocolate without sugar

We all love chocolate, your author included. The Kit Kat ranks as the second most popular snack in the UK, with Twix, Aero and Galaxy bars also featuring in the top-ten, per a recent YouGov survey. However, many of us probably eat too much. Diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses are well-documented problems, with the number of people suffering from such problems forecast to increase by 50% between now and 2025, according to the World Health Organisation. Governments around the globe are responding to this by considering and/or already actively taxing certain food and drink products.

The prospect of creating chocolate without adding any sugar is, therefore, an enticing one. Now it’s become possible, per a press release issued from Nestlé yesterday. The food company has started to produce chocolate – which will be available from the Autumn – that uses a patented technique to turn a leftover material from cocoa beans (the white pulp that covers them) into a powder that naturally contains sugar. No additional sugar needs to be added. Nestlé believes this process can be applied to milk, white and dark chocolate and can reduce sugar content by as much as 40% relative to most equivalent bars with added sugar. 

How exciting! This innovation matters since it plays not only to the theme of improved health, but also to the notions of ‘cleaner’ products (fewer added, processed ingredients) that are more sustainable (using fewer scarce resources). We would naturally expect the pace of food innovation to continue given changing consumer preferences. Witness the current vogue of plant-based burgers as another example of this phenomenon. Companies are also – unsurprisingly – jumping on the bandwagon: innovation opens up new product categories, offers scope for premiumisation and helps improves ESG (or certainly environmental and social) credentials. Time to make a trip to the supermarket and check the shelves for new products. 

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