McVitie’s has reduced the amount of sugar in nine of the country’s favorite cookies by up to 10 percent.
Recipes for Rich Tea, Chocolate Digestives, Hobnobs and Ginger Nuts have all been reformulated to make the treats a little healthier.
Original Digestives now contain nine percent less sugar – which means that one cookie contains about 0.3 g less sugar.
Pladis, the owner of McVitie’s, said his new cookies have passed the taste test with a bunch of ‘super fans’ and have already hit the shelves.
The sugar content of each cake falls under – or is close to – the sugar and salt targets of Public Health England, created to curb obesity.
Last week, Unilever, the world’s largest ice cream maker, also unveiled plans to reduce sugar levels in children’s favorites, including Twisters.
The daring step follows the outrage of the customer after Kellogg’s created a ‘tasteless’ low-sugar Coco Pops in 2018.
McVitie’s has reduced the amount of sugar in nine of the country’s favorite cookies by up to 10 percent. They include McVitie’s Original Digestives (from 2.5 g per cookie to 2.2 g), McVitie’s Rich Tea (from 1.7 g per cookie to 1.5 g), McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives (from 5.1 g per cookie) to 4.8 g) and McVitie’s Original Hobnobs (from 3.9 g per cookie to 3.5 g)
The nine cookies that contain less sugar are McVitie’s Original Digestives, McVitie’s Rich Tea, McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives (Milk and Dark), McVitie’s Original Hobnobs, McVitie’s Chocolate Hobnobs (Milk and Dark), McVitie’s Caramel Digestives and McVitie’s Ginger Nuts.
They account for more than half of the UK sales of McVitie.
The move will remove an estimated 785 tonnes of sugar from the British diet, the company said.
And the cookies are already on the shelves, millions of customers have no idea.
HOW MANY SUGAR DOES EACH COOKIE CONTAIN?
McVitie’s Original Digestives
Before: 2.5 g
Now: 2.2 g
Rich Tea Biscuits from McVitie
Before: 1.7 g
Now: 1.5 g
McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives
Before: 5.1 g
Now: 4.8 g
McVitie’s Dark Chocolate Digestives
Before: 4.6 g
Now: 4.4 g
Original Hobnobs from McVitie
Before: 3.9 g
Now: 3.5 g
McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Hobnobs
Before: 6.2 g
Now: 6 g
McVitie’s Dark Chocolate Hobnobs
Before: 5.9 g
Now: 5.7 g
McVitie’s Caramel Digestives
Before: 5.3 g
Ginger nuts from McVitie
Now:> 3 g
The owner of McVitie, Pladis, said the new recipes “were achieved through careful redistribution of ingredients to reduce sugar and salt to come under or so close to the goal of Public Health England while maintaining its distinctive taste.”
It said the changes had been tested at hundreds of customers, including so-called “McVitie super-fans” to ensure that the sugar reduction “could not be noticed.”
A spokesperson said, “They even made sure the cookies tasted exactly the same when they were immersed in a cup of tea and used a mechanical dunking arm in a laboratory to record the time that broke when they were immersed.”
David Murry, director of Pladis UK and Ireland, told The Grocer magazine: ‘We have been working for years on reducing sugar in the country’s favorite cookies.
“It is an exceptionally complex process because our fundamental philosophy is that we will make absolutely no concessions to the taste or quality of the ingredients.”
Public Health England has set several goals that advise manufacturers on how to cut sugar, salt and calories in foods.
For most items, sugar and calories must be reduced by 20 percent.
Last week, food giant Unilever said that there are already plans for a ‘responsibly made’ assortment of Wall’s Ice Cream. Each ice cream in the children’s assortment contains no more than 110 calories and a maximum of 12 grams of sugar per serving.
Many manufacturers have decided to reduce their product size under pressure from the government instead of changing the recipe.
Pladis said his new cookies have already passed the taste test with a bunch of ‘super fans’
Customers criticized Coco Pops in 2018 after the chocolate grains had tasted ‘old’ with 40 percent less sugar, but only one less calorie.
Frustrated parents – whose indulgence in Coco Pops for breakfast – said the new recipe tastes ‘outdated’ and ‘cheaper’, with 30 percent less sugar than other chocolate-flavored cereals, according to Kellogg’s manufacturer.
In response to critics, a Kellogg spokesperson said, “Coco Pops shoppers told us they wanted the same great taste, but with less sugar, so that’s what we’ve been working hard to achieve that for the past three and a half years.”
A report from the think tank The Institute of Economic Affairs detailed how health officials are struggling to categorize items, fighting over whether a Twix bar and Penguin bar fall under the chocolate or cookies category.
WHAT ARE THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO REDUCE SUGAR?
According to the UK government’s ‘reformulation’ policy, food products are subject to government targets for reducing salt, sugar and calories.
The program aims to change the ingredients in food to improve people’s health and has been around for more than ten years.
It started with salt reduction targets in 2006, from everything from sausage to chips.
Sugar reduction targets came in 2017 with regard to foods such as puddings, cookies, breakfast cereals, yogurt.
Sugar reduction for drinks based on milk and juice was drawn in 2018.
At the end of 2019, there was a broader calorie reduction program that covered most processed foods, including those produced in restaurants and cafes, such as pizzas, ready meals, sandwiches, and hamburgers. However, it was not released.
The government’s plans, which are aimed at tackling obesity, relate not only to ‘unhealthy’ food, but to items such as salad dressings, nut butter and olive ciabatta on a daily basis.
Although reformulation is currently not supported by sanctions, they are constantly threatened by PHE.
So far, there are 13 target categories for sugar, seven for milk and fruit-based drinks, one for fermented yogurt drinks, 76 for salt and 13 for calories.
Each of these categories is subject to a number of different goals, including a 20 percent reduction in sugar or calories.