Everyone loves chocolate. Fact. Yet, another crueller fact about chocolate is that it is most certainly not good for the waistline. (Apart from perhaps a small cube of dark chocolate every now and again which is deemed to be healthy, or so I was told by my granny).
However unhealthy chocolate is, it doesn’t stop most of us from gorging ourselves and tucking into a delicious chocolate bar. Yet, there may be some relief in view, because Cadbury is to launch a new version of its famous purple liveried Dairy Milk bars with 30% less sugar.
Mondelez, which owns Cadbury, said it was committed to tackling obesity, including childhood obesity, in the UK.
The company has said that the lower-sugar bar took a team of 20 scientists, nutritionists and chocolatiers almost two years to finesse. The recipe does not rely on artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives but instead includes more fibre in place of some of the sugar.
Quite rightly, the confectionery giant is not risking the wrath of sceptical Dairy Milk connoisseurs and intends to sell the new bar alongside original favourites, even though Cadbury insists the diet versions taste as good.
PHE said it was pleased that the company had decided to offer healthier products. “This announcement shows reducing sugar in chocolate confectionary is possible, and we look forward to seeing future reductions across more of its confectionary range,” said Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE.
“We’ve tested this with hundreds of consumers and they love it,” said Glenn Caton, president of Northern Europe of Mondelēz International, the US multinational company that bought Cadbury in 2010.
“It’s very tricky to reformulate chocolate because it’s just cocoa, sugar and milk and if you take one thing out, it changes the structure,” said Caton, who claimed he could barely taste the difference between the two bars. “We’ve used fibre as an alternative to some of the sugar and found it doesn’t have a negative impact on the taste or structure.”
The food industry is under growing pressure from the government to cut the sugar content of their products amid an obesity crisis that has made the UK the most overweight nation in western Europe.
In April the sugar tax came into effect but before that deadline many drinks, including Irn-Bru, Sprite, Fanta and Dr Pepper had been reformulated to avoid the new tax or avoid its highest rates.
Mondelēz has already introduced a 250 calorie cap on all small chocolate bars, and sells a Dairy Milk bar with 98 calories. Next year it also plans to reduce the amount of sugar in Wine Gums and Jelly Babies.