Nestlé forced to think again on low-sugar chocolate bars after Wowsomes’ flop

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

The Milky bar Wowsomes was the first product to use technology developed by Nestlé that creates sugar with a more porous structure. Pic: Nestlé
The Milky bar Wowsomes was the first product to use technology developed by Nestlé that creates sugar with a more porous structure. Pic: Nestlé

Related tags Nestlé Milk Bar Sugar

In a blow to low-sugar alternatives in confectionery, Nestlé has confirmed it has axed its Milkybar Wowsomes because of 'underwhelming' demand from consumers.

The Wowsomes bar launched two years ago​, was the first product to use technology developed by Nestlé that creates sugar with a more porous structure, created by hollowing out the sugar crystals.

Nestlé told ConfectioneryNews it is now working on new sugar reduction technology that it aims to introduce in 2021.

A spokesperson said: “Nestlé is committed to reducing sugar in our food. Since 2015, we have reduced sugar by 2.6 billion teaspoons and removed more than 60 billion calories across our UK portfolio, which includes a sugar reduction of 10% across our confectionery portfolio. We do this through gradual sugar reduction in our products, offering versions containing significantly less sugar, and replacing some sugar with natural ingredients such as fibres, flour, natural sweeteners, dairy and cocoa powders as well as through portion sizing​.

We also invest in innovative, patented technologies that enable us to reduce sugar content more significantly. We will continue to be at the forefront of this work. While we are no longer making Milkybar Wowsomes, we are working on some new and exciting products for the future. Our latest 30% reduced sugar chocolate is the MORE range, which encompasses the Raspberry and Hazelnut KitKat Chunky and the Oats, Apple and Cinnamon Yorkie​.”

Under pressure

Confectionery makers in the UK have come under pressure in recent years from health authorities to cut the amount of sugar in their products.

The Nestlé breakthrough was seen at the time as giving the company the edge in a growing market for low-sugar products, demanded by governments and more health-conscious consumers.

Back in 2018, at the time of the launch, Stefano Agostini, Nestlé’s chief executive for UK and Ireland, said: "A new product like Milkybar Wowsomes introduces greater choice and allows parents to treat their children with chocolate that tastes great but has less sugar.

"We are demonstrating how we can, and will, contribute to a healthier future and that we take our public health responsibilities very seriously​."

Other companies have also introduced reduced sugar versions of popular chocolate bars, including Mars Wrigley UK, and Mondelēz International with its with low-sugar Cadbury Dairy Milk.

The news that Nestlé is scrapping Milkybar Wowsomes illustrates the circle that food manufacturers in Europe need to square: namely the challenge of producing lower-sugar products – owing to pressure from consumers and governments – while not sacrificing taste​,” said FoodNaviagtor’s Oliver Morrison​, who questioned that poor marketing might have been to blame for the Wowsomes’ flop.

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