Nestlé finds a new way to sweeten chocolate without added sugar

Nestlé has found a way to create chocolate without adding any sugar, relying on leftover material from cocoa plants for sweetening as consumers look for natural and healthier fare.

The food company is using a patented technique to turn the white pulp that covers cocoa beans into a powder that naturally contains sugar. 

Later this year in Japan, Nestlé will start selling KitKat bars with 70% dark chocolate under the new recipe: KitKat Chocolatory Cacao Fruit Chocolate will offer “natural sweetness and subtle acidity made entirely from cacao fruit, using cacao beans and pulp.”

Chef Yasumasa Takagi, who developed the new candy for the specialist KitKat Chocolatory store, further explains, “It is an innovation that focuses on the fact that cacao is originally a fruit and provides the full taste of cacao.”

Until now, the pulp has never been used as a sweetener for chocolate, and usually, it’s mostly thrown out.

Nestlé could use the same process to make milk or white chocolate in the future, say Alexander von Maillot, head of Nestlé’s confectionery business.

The food and beverage industry is under pressure from consumers and governments alike to make healthier products amid rising obesity and diabetes rates.

Nestlé’s move may bolster its position as a leader in the industry, and it comes three years after finding a way to alter the structure of sugar to boost its sweetening power.

The world’s largest food company plans to use the pulp technique for other confectionery brands in additional countries next year.

“Using pulp makes it a more premium chocolate,” Von Maillot says. “Sugar is a cheap ingredient.”

Nestlé’s new 70% dark chocolate will have as much as 40% less sugar than most equivalent bars with added sugar. Nestlé’s existing dark chocolate KitKats have 12.3 grams of sugar per serving.

“The sugar reduction is incidental, not a focus,” Von Maillot said. “It’s more about a novel way to produce chocolate and use the best of the cocoa pod.”

Source: Nestlé, Bloomberg