Geneva (AFP) - Nestle has said it has discovered a way to cut the amount of sugar that goes into its Kit Kat, Butterfinger and other candy bars, but without affecting the taste.
The Swiss food giant's scientists say a breakthrough will allow the company to cut sugar content by up to 40 percent. Sweetness of chocolate and other confectionery products will be unchanged.
"Our scientists have discovered a completely new way to use a traditional, natural ingredient," Nestle Chief Technology Officer Stefan Catsicas said in a statement late Wednesday.
The researchers have found a way to "structure sugar differently," the company said, stressing that "even when much less is used in chocolate, your tongue perceives an almost identical sweetness to before."
The company said it was patenting its findings and would begin using the faster-dissolving sugar across a range of its confectionery products starting in 2018.
The announcement comes as food and beverage makers are under increasing pressure to provide healthier alternatives to sugar-laden products, which have in part been blamed for swelling obesity and diabetes rates around the globe.
Using less sugar also has potentially massive cost savings.
The World Health Organization has long said sugars should make up less than 10 percent of a person's total daily energy intake, and now urges countries to lower the bar to five percent.
That would mean consuming no more than 25 grammes, or the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar a day -- less than the 10 teaspoons in your average can of soda.