Sugar reduction

reduce sugar

Sugar reduction

What is the issue?

Sugar is an important food ingredient, adding sweetness, texture, flavour and preservative properties. However, eating too much sugars increases the risk of dental problems and can contribute to an excessive intake of energy, which in turn can lead to weight gain and obesity.

A recent report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommends that the UK population reduces its consumption of free sugars (which includes added sugar and sugars from juices and concentrates, but not sugars found naturally in vegetables, intact fruit (dried, tinned, frozen and fresh) and dairy) to around 5% of daily dietary energy intake, and for both children and adults to minimise their consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.

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Why is it important?

We agree that the population is eating too much sugars and that consumption should decrease. We want to contribute to public health by helping people reduce the amount of sugars they consume, in line with the recommendations of UK health authorities.


  • Achieved
  • By 2014 – 100% of children’s products to meet the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation criteria for sugars.
  • By 2015: Reduce the sugars content in any serving of children’s or teenagers’ breakfast cereal brands to 9g or less per serving, to promote a reduction in sugars in children’s diets.
  • In progress
  • By 2016 – Further reduce sugars content by 10% in products that do not meet the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation criteria, to ensure continual improvement even in more challenging areas of our product portfolio.

Improving health by helping consumers stay within their daily recommended sugar intake.


Building a trusted brand and demonstrating our commitment to improving public health.

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What are we doing about it?

Our aim is to reduce the amount of sugars in our foods and drink products without compromising on their safety, quality and taste. In support of health authority recommendations that the energy intake from free sugars should be limited, we continue to drive technological innovations that will enable further reduction of sugars in our product portfolio.

In 2007, we were one of the first major food companies to introduce a global policy on sugar reduction. In 2014, we updated this policy to support the latest sugar intake recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other leading international and national authorities. Through the updated policy, we are committed to achieving an average sugar reduction of at least 10% in products that do not meet the Nestlé Nutritional Foundation sugars criteria by the end of 2016.

We have already launched a wide range of reduced-sugar foods and beverages. We continue to review products across our portfolio regularly and aim to improve their nutritional profile where possible, doing all we can to reduce sugar content further. In line with our commitment to improving children’s health, we prioritise products designed for children.

By the end of 2015, globally we had reduced our added-sugar content by 18,000 tonnes, or 4.1%, towards our objective of a 10% reduction. The challenge for us lies in consistently providing tastier and healthier solutions that meet consumer preferences. We have begun further renovation work which we expect to lead to additional reductions of 3.6%. In order to implement more lasting and impactful technological solutions in our factories, we may have to extend the work of this commitment beyond 2016.

With more and more families looking to swap to low sugar options, new products like [Low Sugar Oat Cheerios] are a vital part of making it easier to make that healthier choice. I encourage more businesses to follow suit.
Jane Ellison MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health


Sugar reduction highlights in 2015 in UK

Ice cream, chocolate and confectionery

• Following the launch of Milkybar, fab and Nobbly Bobbly ice lolly minis, Rowntree’s Randoms Mini ice lolly launched in 2015 containing 42 kcal per portion and being around half the size of the standard top selling ice lollies.
• The recipe change resulted in the removal of 147 tonnes of sugars from fab ice-cream and 397 million kcal (1).

As part of an industry agreement, all of our confectionery countlines contained no more than 250 calories in 2015. Achieving this commitment involved reducing the sugar in the products included, which were our Lion, Kit Kat Chunky, Drifter and Yorkie bars, by a total of 1,320 tonnes – the equivalent of 330 million sugar cubes.

• In 2015, Cereal Partners UK achieved its target of reducing the sugar content of Nestlé breakfast cereal brands for children and teenagers to 9g or less per serving.
• Today Nestlé Cereals recipes are made with 1400 less tonnes of sugar compared to 2003 (2).
• Sugar reductions allow us to increase the whole grain and fibre content of our cereals and improve the reputation of the category.

• San Pellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages that target adult consumers as premium indulgent beverages for occasional consumption, have removed 233 tonnes of sugar (the equivalent of 58 million teaspoons) from its products in 2015 (3).


Graph on sugar reduction 


Our new Low Sugar Oat Cheerios has only 4.7g of sugars per 100g.

Low Sugar Oat Cheerios

In February 2015, we launched Low Sugar Oat Cheerios. The new cereal brand has only 4.7g of sugars per 100g. It’s also 98% whole grain, making it high in fibre. The launch met with a positive response from the Department of Health, who commended the product for making it easier for families to choose healthier options. The cereal also won the Grocer New Product Award 2015 (breakfast category).

box of Munch Bunch squashums  

Lactalis Nestlé sugars reductions

In 2015, we continued to reduce the sugar content of our Lactalis Nestlé Chilled Dairy Yogurts and Fromage Frais in order to meet Nestlé’s Nutritional Profiling System criteria (pdf, 882Kb), and in line with our EU pledges for dairy (pdf, 1Mb).

Our reformulation work on Rasbperry and Strawberry Munch Bunch Squashums Pouches, Strawberry/Raspberry, Strawberry/Banana and Strawberry/Vanilla Munch Bunch Double Up Fromage Frais, Smarties Split Yogurt Pots, and Milkybar Little Treat Diary Dessert has resulted in the removal of 1.37bn calories, 51.7 tonnes of sugar, and 9.8 tonnes of saturated fat.
(Calculated using 2014 vs 2015 nutrient changes and 2014 sales data. The figures are not cumulative.)

Also in 2015, we launched 30%-reduced sugar versions of both our Munch Bunch Raspberry and Strawberry Fromage Frais products. We plan to extend the reduced-sugar range in 2016.


Aero – smaller size, same great taste

In 2015, we reduced the size of our Aero chocolate bars in Aero multipacks by 34% from 41g to 27g, which led to a reduction of the sugar and calorie content of 34%. We also reduced the size of Aero single bars. Overall the reduction in our Aero bars resulted in the removal of 311 tonnes of sugars (equivalent to 77.8 million sugar cubes) and 2.7 billion calories.


Munch Bunch 30% Less Sugar

In 2015 we launched Munch Bunch 30% Less Sugar, as an addition to our Munch Bunch Fromage Frais pot range. Munch Bunch 30% Less Sugar is the lowest sugar fruit fromage frais for children you can buy in the UK, containing less than one teaspoon of added sugar per pot. It has no artificial sweeteners and is made with all natural ingredients.

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What’s next?

We will continue to work on improving the nutritional profile of our products and reduce sugars in our products where possible and continue to invest in innovative Research & Development to overcome current challenges in reducing sugars further.

We have further product reformulations planned, through which we expect to be able to reduce sugar levels by an additional 3.6% globally, on top of the 4.1% reduction we achieved in 2015. Achieving our global target of 10% will involve introducing new technologies in our factories, and in order to do this we may need to extend our deadline beyond 2016.

Following the publication of the Carbohydrates and Health report in 2015 in the UK, we look forward to working with government and other stakeholders to translate the SACN recommendations on levels of sugar intake into practical advice to help consumers make informed choices about their sugar consumption.

In March 2017 we announced that we would reduce the sugar across our confectionery range by 10%. We will do this through a range of methods including re-formulation and investment in innovation and technology. Read more.


1. Calculated using 2014 vs 2015 nutrient changes and 2015 sales data. The figures are not cumulative.

2. 2003 recipes or launch recipes for those products introduced post-2003. The figures are not cumulative (only for 2015), using 2015 sales figures.

3. Calculated using 2014 vs 2015 nutrient changes and 2015 sales data. The sugar reductions are not cumulative.