Consumer Affairs has reported that governments around the world are beginning to take the obesity epidemic more seriously. Legislation to cut the amount of sugar and salt in foods and beverages has been ongoing, and some cities have even gone so far as to tax beverages like soda.
While the folks at Nestle aren’t completely abandoning their candy-making ways for carrot sticks and celery, Bloomberg reports that researchers at the company have found a new method that would allow them to reduce the amount of sugar in their chocolate products by 40%.
While the full process has not been detailed because of a pending patent, Chief Technology Officer Stefan Catsicas explains that the reduction is possible by changing the composition of sugar crystals to be more “hollow.”
“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,” he said.
Changing the formula may have some chocolate lovers worried that Nestle’s products won’t taste the same, but Catsicas says that the change won’t happen overnight. He says that the reduction of sugar will happen over time so that consumers can gradually adjust to the change.
“We want people to get used to a different taste, a taste that would be more natural. We really want to be the drivers of the solution,” he said.
Company officials stated that they would be open to licensing the process to other companies after the patent has been approved. Similar research is currently being conducted on salt, and if the processes prove to be successful, then making them available to other companies could lead to big changes in health for the food and beverage industry.
However, Nestle will likely be looking for a way to profit off of the exchange of information as well. When asked whether the company would license the new processes, Catsicas replied “I would have no problem with that. If we can make a good business case, if we can get the returns that we deserve, then why not?”