Nestlé’s mad scientists — the groundbreaking team behind Nespresso multivitamin pods and diabetes pills in “appealing snack” form — are back with a new creation that’s being called “sugar lite” by the New York Times. It’s a chemically restructured version the food producer claims tastes sweeter in smaller amounts, and because regulators are starting to look, confectioners are desperate to find healthy (or healthy-seeming) ways to sweeten candy. This development would represent quite a turning point in that hunt.
In an announcement, Nestlé says its team reengineered the actual compound in a way that will allow its chocolates and other candies to taste the same, but with 40 percent less sugar. Although they aren’t too hip to explain how, exactly, until the patents go through. So for now everybody has to rely on vague explanations like this one by the Times, based on an interview with Nestlé’s chief technology officer:
Dr. Catsicas compared a normal crystal of sugar to a shoe box, where the box is made of sugar and everything inside it is also made of sugar. The new sugar, he said, will be processed to have the same sugar exterior — though it may be a globe instead of a box — to dissolve in the mouth. Because less sugar is inside, less goes to the stomach.
Regardless whether it’s a globe or a box, the changeover will occur “gradually,” Nestlé says, because the company doesn’t want customers suddenly detecting a change in taste. It says its new candies will start off with 40 percent of their original sugar, but could take less as more gets slowly swapped for this lighter stuff. Nestlé says it should be ready for use starting in 2018, and plans to release more details in the coming year.
The company also tells the Times it might sell the new sugar to other companies, because why not, but for still-mysterious reasons, adds it’s not something that can be “mixed into your coffee” or “used to sweeten soda.”