Nestlé Ahead of the Sugar Curve

Companies resize, reformulate products to meet sugar demands, limits
Pixy Stix

No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you; that Giant Pixy Stix isn’t nearly as giant.

Nestlé reformulated the product—and many others—to meet the company’s sugar guidelines, which align with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) that consumption of added sugars be limited to no more than 10% of daily calorie intake.

For the Wonka Giant Pixy Stix that meant resizing: 1-ounce and 0.5-ounce servings were replaced with a 0.42-ounce serving.

Since 2009, Nestlé has been reformulating its confectionery products aimed at children to contain less than 10.6 grams of sugar per serving. And, according to their website, 98% of children’s products met this standard by the end of 2014. Products aimed at adults aren’t immune either. Confectionery items created for older consumers must contain 12.5 grams of sugar or less per serving.

This is good news for Nestlé. Just this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department (USDA) of Health and Human Services (HHS) set strict limits on the amount of sugar Americans should ingest, Business Insider reports. The new guidelines, which the USDA and HHS puts out every five years, cap sugar to only 10% of daily calories, mirroring the recommendation by WHO.

According to The NPD Group’s ongoing food consumption research, sugar is the No. 1 item U.S. consumers try to avoid in their diet.

“Consumer alignment with the new guidelines speaks volumes to our collective shift toward eating more healthfully,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst for NPD, Chicago. “We have nutritional information at our fingertips. Some seek it consciously and others hear it subliminally. If there is a weight or health problem, it’s typically not a result of nutritional ignorance.” 

These consumer desires are not lost on companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, whose smaller cans and bottles contain fewer calories.  

Last August, Reuters reported that Coke and Pepsi's mini cans—7.5-ounce versions of the traditional 12-ounce sodas—had been one of the few bright spots in U.S. soda sales in the previous month.

Likewise, both soda companies are investing in low-sugar options.

According to Pepsi’s website, about half of its beverage volume is in low- or zero-calorie drinks (Aquafina, Pepsi Next and Diet Mtn Dew), juices (Tropicana and Naked Juice), and active hydration beverages (Gatorade and G2).

As for Coca-Cola: “Today, more than 1,000 reduced-, low- or no-calorie options are available in our global portfolio, representing more than 25% of the beverages we offer around the world,” a Coca-Cola spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.