Pladis, the snacking company that owns the McVitie’s brand, has announced that it has reduced the amount of sugar in nine of its McVitie’s biscuit types sold. The first biscuits that were reformulated were McVitie’s Original Digestives, which now contain 9% less sugar and 5% less salt than previously. This change aims to place the biscuits’ sugar and salt content below or as close to Public Health England’s targets as possible while saving the distinctive taste.

The move is in accordance with the global trend that is seeing consumers avoid or moderate their sugar intake. According to GlobalData’s 2019 Q3 global consumer survey, 47% of global respondents are actively trying to reduce sugar consumption, whilst a further 40% claim to consume sugar in moderation. By redeveloping the biscuits’ formula, Pladis reported that 785t of sugar will be taken from British people’s diet every year following the reformulation.

Sneakily changing recipes instead of inventing the wheel

McVitie’s has decided to quietly change the recipe of its biscuits, without marketing the move or creating new or different low-sugar products. The company has tested the new recipes with the brand’s fans, thus ensuring it does not compromise on taste. Therefore, many consumers may be unaware of the change, while consuming a healthier alternative. Acting in this way could prove more successful than inventing a completely new low-sugar product, as consumers are often reluctant to try out low-calorie products that are usually more expensive and weigh less than normal ones. One recent example of a product that was advertised as healthier and with a lower-sugar content but which couldn’t attract enough sales is Nestlé’s Milkybar Wowsomes lower-sugar chocolate bar. Nestlé has decided to halt its production less than two years after it was launched, citing ‘underwhelming’ sales as the reason.

The McVitie’s biscuits with reformulated recipes include 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 – all British classics.

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