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Sugar strategy: Cadbury revs up its reformulation machine for chocolate and more

Mondelēz International, which owns the Cadbury brand, is releasing a version of its Dairy Milk bar with 30% less sugar, while its Boost bar has bulked up on protein.

20 July 2018

First, Nestle unveiled its technique to reduce sugars and trick the taste buds, which allowed it to release its Milkybar Wowsomes range with 30% less sugar.

Now, Cadbury is transforming its famous Dairy Milk chocolate with a new bar that will contain 30% less sugar.

The company that owns Cadbury – Mondelēz International – said the new bar will sit alongside the standard one on shelves and marks the most significant innovation in the brand’s history.

But it’s not the only innovation happening in Cadbury’s candy cupboard.

Reformulating with fibre

It took almost two years and a team of 20 scientists, nutritionists and chocolatiers at Mondelēz International’s Reading and Bournville research and development facilities to find a way to achieve the Cadbury Dairy Milk taste, while delivering 30% less sugar.

The new reformulation does not rely on artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives, and there is no increase in calories, the company said.

Chocolate is a tricky one to change as it’s basically cocoa, sugar and milk, and taking one thing out changes the structure. But the company has used fibre as an alternative to some of the sugar, finding it doesn’t have a negative impact on the taste or shape.

The new product has been trialled on hundreds of consumers who love it, according to the company, but the real test will be when it hits shelves next year. If successful with consumers, Mondelēz will also look to apply to the approach to other Cadbury's Dairy Milk products.

Protein and less sugar

The new variant is just one of a number of lower sugar innovations planned for the UK market over the next two years as part of its strategy to increase well-being choices across its portfolio and help people to enjoy treats in moderation, the company said.

It includes a new addition to the Cadbury Boost range, which has been, well, boosted with protein.

The Boost + Protein contains 12g of protein – four times more than the standard Boost bar – as well as 32% less sugar. It features the same milk chocolate and caramel combination as the original bar, but with ‘protein crisps.’ It will hit shelves on July 30.

The protein bar market is growing at 54% year on year, according to Mondelēz, and is being driven by the lifestyle, taste-driven segment as mainstream consumers look for ways to increase energy and balance their diets. (Food Spark has previously reported on how protein and no added sugar are key trends driving the confectionary market.)

Other Cadbury products that are receiving the trend treatment and are expected to be released next year include 30% less sugar variants of Maynards Bassetts products – Wine Gums and Jelly Babies – and a 40% less sugar line extension on BelVita.

It also has longer term plans to reformulate Cadbury Brunch bars to reduce sugar by around 20% and is exploring a lower sugar Oreo. The company has flagged a number of significant sugar-free innovations on Trebor for 2019 too.

Glenn Caton, president of Northern Europe, Mondelēz International, said the brand is working on providing more choice by expanding portion control offerings and improving the nutritional profile of its brands.

“We believe this strategy is working with people for example eating less chocolate today than five years ago,” he said.

“Our approach to health will always be led by both the consumer and by scientific evidence, which is why we won’t reduce sugar at the expense of increasing calories. But we recognise that people want to manage their sugar intake and that’s why we have worked tirelessly to create a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar with 30% less sugar as part of our commitment to a wider sugar reduction programme.

“Taking sugar out of our products isn’t easy and will take time. Ultimately, they are treats and people expect them to taste great, but we’re working hard to find innovative solutions that provide more choice without compromising on their world-renowned taste and quality.”


When it comes to offering portion control options, the company voluntarily introduced a 250-calorie cap on all single-serve chocolate bars and launched a 98-calorie Cadbury Dairy Milk Bar, it said.

It now plans to launch Cadbury Dairy Milk Perfect Pieces, a 19g individually wrapped portion of chocolate that is under 100 calories.

It will also be extending the ‘Be treatwise’ logo to all its Cadbury chocolate products and its entire Maynards Bassetts range in 2019.

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