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McVitie’s has reduced sugar in the nation’s favourite biscuits, without compromising on taste or ‘dunkability’

  • McVitie’s is reducing sugar in nine of the nation’s favourite biscuits by up to 10%, without compromising taste, in a breakthrough in sugar reduction
  • The new, reformulated McVitie’s Original Digestives contain 9% less sugar and 5% less salt
  • The brand tested the new-recipe biscuits with McVitie’s superfans to prove the reduction in sugar could not be tasted and used a ‘mechanical dunking arm’ in a testing lab to ensure dunking was not affected

 

20 February, 2020: London, United Kingdom: pladis, the global snacking company behind British brand McVitie’s, is reducing sugar in nine of the nation’s favourite biscuits, removing 785 tonnes of sugar from Brits’ diets every year.

The change comes amid years of nutritional improvements by pladis across its product range in order to help people achieve healthier lifestyles.

The reformulated biscuits 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, which make up over 50% of all McVitie’s sales in the UK[1].

The first of the reformulated biscuits to have hit the shelves is McVitie’s Original Digestives with 9% less sugar and 5% less salt, but with the same unique sweet and savoury taste combination. Previously at just 16.6g of sugar per 100g, McVitie’s Original Digestives were already one of the lowest-sugar biscuits available and well below Public Health England’s target of 26.2g of sugar per 100g, but now contain just 15.1g of sugar per 100g.

In addition, following further reformulations to some of the country’s highest-selling sweet biscuits:

  • McVitie’s Rich Tea biscuits now contain just 18.5g of sugar per 100g;
  • McVitie’s Original Hobnobs now contain 22.9g of sugar per 100g;
  • McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives now contain 28.5g sugar per 100g;
  • McVitie’s Dark Chocolate Digestives now contain just 26.6g 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 while maintaining McVitie’s distinctive taste. pladis’ Research and Development 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.

David Murray, managing director of pladis UK & Ireland, said: “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.

“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.”

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “We’re pleased that McVitie’s is the latest household name to commit to offering healthier products.

“This announcement shows reducing sugar in biscuits is possible and we look forward to seeing further reductions in the future.”

Currently, 96% of pladis’ products sold in the UK & Ireland contain 200 calories or less per recommended serving, where two biscuits typically equal one serving. pladis has also introduced new lower sugar snacks including McVitie’s Digestives Twists, McVitie’s Granola Oat Bakes and go ahead! Nutty Crunch.

[1] Based on Nielsen RMS data for the Sweet Biscuit Category (pladis defined) for the 12-month period ending 25.01.2020 for the UK total retail market (Copyright (c) 2019, Nielsen)