Food Scientists Claim Low-Sugar Chocolate Breakthrough

Nestlé has announced that it is patenting a way to wring the same taste out of its treats while cutting the amount of sugar by 40 percent.

In news that could be considered too good to be true, Nestlésays it has figured out how to drastically cut the amount of sugar in its chocolate while losing nothing in taste.

The Swiss company said its researchers have devised a way to structure sugar differently, using only natural ingredients. The net result? Chocolate lovers won't be able to notice the decreased sugar.

The new method "has the potential to reduce total sugar by up to 40 percent in our confectionery," said Nestlé Chief Technology Officer Stefan Catsicas in a statement.

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The company thinks so much of its discovery that it is patenting the approach, which consumers can expect to see in their sweets beginning in 2018.

The development is part of a drive on Nestlé's part to cut sugar in its products.

"We aim to offer preferred taste and texture with less sugar, in order to retain consumer preference and deter them from switching to a less nutritional product," the company proclaimed in a statement on its sugar-reduction initiatives.

There's much to be gained from the move, food industry watchers say.

Business-wise, if it pans out the development would be "the holy grail of food innovation," an analyst told Bloomberg, giving Nestlé an effective weapon against its rivals. It would also place Nestlé in the middle of a market move in low-sugar treats. The site notes that while the market for traditional sweets has remained essentially flat since 2012, sales of reduced-sugar snacks have been climbing since 2013.

Fans of mass-market chocolate, meanwhile, might be inclined to buy more of the company's products, under the impression that the low-sugar chocolate is relatively guilt-free.

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