The snacking company behind beloved British brand McVitie’s is reducing sugar in nine biscuits that comprise more than half of all of the brand’s UK sales.
Nine of the brand’s biscuits – including Rich Tea, Ginger Nuts, Original and Chocolate Digestives and Original and Chocolate Hobnobs – are being reformulation to contain up to 10% less sugar.
The first of the reformulated biscuits to have hit the shelves is McVitie’s Original Digestives with 9% less sugar and 5% less salt.
Previously at 16.6g of sugar per 100g, the biscuits were well below Public Health England’s target of 26.2g of sugar per 100g, but now contain 15.1g of sugar per 100g.
The new recipes have been achieved through a careful re-balancing of ingredients to reduce sugar and salt, in order to get below, or as close to, Public Health England’s target as possible without compromising on taste.
pladis’ R&D team tested the change with hundreds of consumers, including a group of self-confessed McVitie’s superfans, to ensure that the reduction in sugar could not be spotted.
They even made sure the biscuits tasted exactly the same when dunked in a cup of tea and used a ‘mechanical dunking arm’ in the laboratory to record the time to break when dunked.
“For years, we have been working on reducing sugar in the nation’s favourite biscuits. It is an exceptionally complex process because our fundamental philosophy is that we will absolutely not compromise on taste or the quality of ingredients,” said David Murray, Managing Director of pladis UK & Ireland.
“99.1% of all households in the UK buy biscuits and McVitie’s continues to be the number one biscuit brand in the UK, so we know that if we are to truly help the nation lead healthier lives, we need to take sugar out of our biggest-selling biscuits.
“However, we have an incredibly loyal fan base who have grown up eating our biscuits, so if they no longer liked the taste then the whole programme would fail.
“By testing our new lower-sugar biscuits with hundreds of consumers to ensure that they cannot tell the difference, and by implementing a process of careful rebalancing of ingredients, we have reduced sugar and salt while maintaining the unique sweet and savoury taste combination that makes McVitie’s biscuits so distinctive.”