Nestlé: developing a reduced sugar and increased fibre variant for NESQUIK®

Date : 20 November 2017

Responding to consumer demand, Nestlé set about developing a reduced sugar and increased fibre version of its chocolate flavoured NESQUIK powder.


The goal was to produce a reduced sugar variant, whilst maintaining a great tasting product loved by parents and children.

Nestlé’s research suggests that parents want to encourage children to drink milk1. Some children do not like the natural flavour of milk. Adding NESQUIK chocolate powder is therefore a way of encouraging them to drink milk.

With 45% of NESQUIK consumed at breakfast time2, parents want options that are nutritionally improved.

This is why Nestlé developed a 30% less sugar and increased fibre in NESQUIK, without any artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners or preservatives.

To combine taste and health, Nestlé set the following targets:

  • At least 30% sugar reduction against standard NESQUIK Chocolate and the competitors
  • A level of fibre that enables a ‘source of fibre’ claim
  • No artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners or preservatives
  • A level of sugar that results in an amber coloured lozenge for the Reference Intake for sugar on the front of pack
  • Non-High Fat Salt and Sugar (HFSS) as consumed (according to the Department of Health nutrient profiling model)
  • Contain Nutri-Start, NESQUIK’S unique blend of vitamins and minerals that complements milk (vitamin C, thiamin, vitamin D, iron and zinc) alongside the calcium and phosphorus in semi-skimmed milk
  • Taste great!


A large amount of sugar (lactose) occurs naturally in milk, therefore Nestlé needed a significant reduction in sugar in the NESQUIK powder (around 65% less) to achieve a 30% reduction compared to a serving of the standard product with semi-skimmed milk.

Sugar plays several roles in NESQUIK chocolate powder, especially in its consistency and its signature flavour.

The sugar was partly replaced with dextrin (maize fibre), which contributes to the fibre intake of a glass of NESQUIK® 30% LESS SUGAR and partly replaced with maltodextrin.

Reducing sugar and increasing fibre produced numerous challenges including:

  • Maintaining bulk - the consumer still needs to be able to add three teaspoons (13.5g) of powder to a glass of milk
  • Ensuring flowability in production
  • Balancing the flavour – overcoming bitterness from cocoa vs sweetness
  • Maintaining all sensory aspects – texture, viscosity, solubility
  • Maintaining ‘‘no artificial” claims i.e. no artificial sweeteners
  • Ensuring enough fibre to make a claim
  • Working collaboratively with different countries that have varying expectations on taste, timelines, regulatory interpretation, cost and nutrition profile


Nestlé developed a reduced sugar alternative to NESQUIK Chocolate that is a source of fibre, without the use of artificial ingredients. The overall sweetness was slightly reduced compared to standard NESQUIK chocolate to allow for people’s palates to gradually adjust to a less sweet taste.


The new NESQUIK 30% Less Sugar is non-HFSS, has no red ‘traffic lights’ on the front of pack and contains no artificial colours, flavours, sweeteners or preservatives. It also has 30% less sugar and source of fibre claim made on the front of pack.

Compared to the standard NESQUIK Chocolate, the powder contains 12% less calories, 67% less sugar and 290% more fibre. Per glass as consumed (13.5g +200ml semi-skimmed milk) there is around 4% less calories, 35% less sugar and 290% more fibre.

Per glass* Standard Chocolate flavoured Nesquik

Per glass* 30% Less Sugar Chocolate flavoured Nesquik

The new product also performed well from a taste perspective. We researched extensively amongst our core target audience of parents with kids aged 6-12. The research showed that the product is hugely appealing to parents. The fact that there are no artificial sweeteners is a real positive for them. The research also showed that the taste was very well received with current NESQUIK users3.

The new product sits alongside the existing range and will give consumers the choice of a reduced sugar version NESQUIK chocolate flavour milk mix.

1Powdered Milkshake Mix: Dosage, Usage & Attitudes (Nestle quantitative research conducted by PPL Insights) – May 2016
2Kantar Usage Data Jan 2017
3Source: Nestle Consumer Research May 2017 & Quant Research 2016

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