Nestlé reduces added sugar content in its Nesquik brand

One of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, Nestlé, has cut the added sugar content in its long-popular brand, Nesquik.

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 While initial media reports indicated that this cut would take place in the US, Nestlé South Africa said that it too had implemented the strategy. “Nesquik is reducing added sugar by 15% in its chocolate powder and by 27% in its strawberry powder formulas. In addition to this product improvement, these two products are now free of artificial colours and flavours,” Nestlé USA beverage Division spokesperson, Sona Iliffe-Moon, said.

“The reduced added sugar formula is already aligned with our upper threshold of 10,6g of added sugar per serving.” Beet juice powder was now being used to give Strawberry Nesquik its distinct pink colour, while Nesquik Chocolate Powder would continue to use cocoa for its colour, according to Nestlé USA.

These moves had been prompted by Nestlé’s ongoing efforts “to give consumers nutritionally responsible offerings”, Iliffe-Moon said. Globally, added sugar in many food products has become increasingly unpopular, and many consumers blame it for a variety of human health issues.

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Nestlé SA spokesperson, Ravi Pillay, told Farmer’s Weekly that his company had also reduced the added sugar content of Nesquik products manufactured and sold in South Africa, and that now the company also only used natural colourants in the milk-based drink.

Farmer’s Weekly was unable to obtain the views of South Africa’s major sugar-milling companies on how the global trend towards reduced added sugar in many food and beverage products was affecting their profitability, as the companies were involved in preparing their annual financial results.

The South African Sugar Association (Sasa), while unable to speak on behalf of the sugar-milling companies, iterated its previously expressed views on the nutritional value and human health impacts of sugar. 

“Current scientific evidence does not suggest that sugar directly causes conditions such as obesity or diabetes. Both of these conditions are due to a complex range of factors such as being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle and, in some cases, genetics. However, like protein, starch, fat and alcohol, sugar is a source of calories in the diet. Excess calories can lead to [people] being overweight which can increase the risk of type-2 diabetes,” a Sasa statement said.

The statement went on to say that sugar “can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle”.