The new bars will contain more milk and cocoa to replace the removed sugar, so that they remain the same size.
The move will take out more than 1,000t of sugar from UK public consumption – equivalent to 250M teaspoons – and will remove more than 3bn calories, claimed Nestlé.
Nestlé UK and Ireland chairman and ceo Fiona Kendrick said: “I’m pleased to say that these products are the same size as the ones they are replacing and taste just as good.
“This is a great example of us using our strength in research and innovation to develop a great recipe that replaces sugar with a bit more of the existing, natural ingredients that people know and love.”
‘Positive step forward for Nestlé’
Pressure group Action on Sugar (AOS) said the Kit Kat reformulation was a positive step forward for Nestlé and would contribute to a wider reduction in sugar in its products overall.
Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk, AOS nutritionist Kawther Hashem hoped that the reformulated Kit Kat will replace the existing bar and not marketed as a healthy alternative.
“It is important that they [Nestlé] does not suggest this new bar is better for consumers. We stress that it is still a treat and should still be eaten in moderation,” said Hashem.
“While it is a small reduction of sugar, we hope that this is not the last time Nestlé reformulate its chocolate. A gradual reduction will lead to contributing to less sugar overall.”
The launch follows Nestlé’s announcement that it would reduce the sugar content across its confectionery brands by 10% earlier this month.
Remove up to 7,500t of sugar from its products
The cut would remove up to 7,500t of sugar from its products, according to Nestlé. The manufacturer planned to replace the sugar with higher quantities of existing ingredients.
Public Health England challenged food manufacturers to cut the amount of sugar in their products by 20% in January this year, to help curb childhood obesity.
However, reducing sugar was only one part of the equation to remedy obesity, according to Parliament’s Health Committee. More needed to be done to halt some food promotions – including cut-price and multi-buy offers on unhealthy foods.
The government should set out plans to reduce portion sizes and regulate deep discounting and price promotions on the sales of unhealthy food and drink, it urged.