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Nestlé launching new chocolate that ditches refined sugar

  • Nestlé says it has patented a new way to naturally sweeten chocolate using just the beans and pulp of the cocoa fruit, allowing the company to cut its use of refined sugar.
  • The Swiss food giant plans to roll out a limited release in Japan using the pulp recipe in Kit Kat bars made from 70% dark chocolate.   
  • Nestlé plans to launch more products using the new recipe across its chocolate brands in other countries starting next year.  

Chocolate lovers may soon be able to dig in while cutting back on sugar. Nestlé on Tuesday said it has found a way to make the confection using only the beans and pulp of the cocoa fruit to naturally sweeten the product. 

The Swiss food and beverage company said the new patented recipe, which is for 70% dark chocolate, allows it to dry and pulverize the cocoa pulp into dried fruit sugar to use in the chocolate "with no compromise on taste, texture and quality." While some of the soft, sweet, white pulp surrounding the fruit is used to ferment the beans in production, it is typically discarded after harvesting. 

Chocolate made using the method has about 40% less sugar than its competitors, according to the company, but a spokesperson said it still has a high percentage of cocoa butter. "As with all chocolate, it is a treat and should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet," she said. 

Nestlé said it plans to use the pulp technique in dark chocolate KitKat bars the company plans to roll out in eight specialty shops in Japan this fall. Starting July 18, one of the shops will also offer fruit juice and dessert granita made from the cocoa pulp. 

The soft, white pulp in the cocoa fruit is typically discarded after the beans are harvested.  Nestlé

"It is an innovation that focuses on the fact that cacao is originally a fruit and provides the full taste of cacao," Chef Yasumasa Takagi, the Japanese patissier leading KitKat's limited-edition releases, said in a statement. 

Nestlé previously launched chocolates made from Ruby cocoa beans, which achieves a natural pink color without any additives. Starting next year, the food company expects to launch products using the pulp recipe in other countries. 

Nestlé last year sold its U.S. confectionery business to Ferrero. KitKat candy bars in the U.S. are under the Hershey Company.

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