Nestlé has created a KitKat bar that combines two things we love here at The Spoon: chocolate and upcycling. Bloomberg reported yesterday that the Swiss candy maker has developed a way to use leftover material from cocoa plants to sweeten dark chocolate with no additional sugar.
How is this confectionary wizardry possible? Bloomberg writes, “The food company is using a patented technique to turn the white pulp that covers cocoa beans into a powder that naturally contains sugar.” Traditionally, this pulp has been thrown out, but by upcycling it, Nestlé can sweeten the bars without adding more sugar. This 70 percent dark chocolate KitKat bar will have “as much as 40 percent less sugar than most equivalent bars with added sugar,” according to Bloomberg, and will go on sale in Japan this fall.
An amusing sidenote to this story is that this discovery seems to be a bit of serendipity. Nestlé said it hadn’t set out to reduce the sugar, but was focused more on developing new ways to make chocolate using more of the cocoa pod. But we know that the company, facing consumers who are more health conscious and rising obesity rates, has been working on reducing sugars in its products. A little over a year ago Nestlé debuted a process of restructuring sugar that gave it more surface area and thus required using less of it while maintaining the same level of sweetness.
And Nestlé isn’t alone in looking to satisfy our global sweet tooth without sacrificing flavor. Israeli startup DouxMatok raised $22 million last month for its technology that uses silica to help sugar diffuse more efficiently in our mouths, so less is required. And in May, Singapore-based Nutrition Innovation raised $5 million for its Nucane, which is a lower glycemic sugar made via a different type of processing at sugar mills.
Nestlé said its new process could expand beyond dark chocolate and into milk and white chocolate as well. Even sweeter than the reduction in sugar is the reduction in food waste. Hopefully other companies will have cravings to follow suit.