Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% Less Sugar

Posted by in Features on July 30 2018 | Leave A Comment

When I first started Chocablog back in 2006, Dairy Milk was one of the first things I wrote about. Back then, I regarded it as a national institution and something not to be messed with. But times change and so have I.

Dairy Milk Less Sugar

In the last twelve years, my tastes have evolved and I’ve become a chocolate maker myself, so when I was asked to write about a new reduced sugar version of Dairy Milk for a national newspaper, I was a little reluctant. But I’m never one to turn down the chance to taste something new – or the prospect of paid work – and so I found myself headed to Mondelez with two Daily Mail reporters.

We were there to meet Glenn Caton, President of Mondelez’s Northern European division. He’s the man in charge of Cadbury, Green & Black’s and a whole host of other household brands. Although I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of every decision Mondelez has made, Glen came across as a good guy and our conversation was relaxed and informal.

We were there to try a new Dairy Milk ‘30% Less Sugar’ variety that the company has been working on. It’s something that has obviously been in development for a long time and seems like a reaction to the current “all sugar is evil” stance the UK government is taking. For me, the most interesting thing about this new product was that the sugar isn’t being replaced by another sweetener such as stevia or maltitol, but the chocolate has been reformulated to include ‘plant fibre’ to replicate the texture and structure of original Dairy Milk.

I use ‘plant fibre’ in quotes, because Mondelez weren’t willing to go into any details what this actually is. Having spoken to chocolate industry friends, some believe it may be inulin, which is often extracted from chicory. One thing’s for sure though; although this product will have less calories, it won’t be a significant reduction and that’s not how Cadbury are positioning it.

Technically, adding plant fibre to chocolate means it’s no longer actually chocolate. But given Cadbury have already crossed that line by adding palm oil to Dairy Milk, I decided to judge this particular bar purely on how it tasted compared to original Dairy Milk. I personally don’t regard Dairy Milk as real chocolate (which has a strict definition) and don’t think replacing sugar with fibre makes it any closer to real chocolate, but that’s an argument for another time.

I was surprised that Mondelez hasn’t really planned for journalists wanting to taste their new product and that we were seemingly the only ones to get to try it. In fact, there only seemed to be a single bar in the office and the Mondelez team clearly hadn’t been expecting three people to show up to try it.

Nevertheless, plates were found and few samples of ‘30% Less Sugar’ and original Dairy Milk were offered. Trying the reduced sugar version first, I was surprised at just how sweet it was. It’s been a while since I’ve had any Dairy Milk, but this tasted every bit as sweet. It also had that trademark milky flavour and slightly grainy, sticky texture. Tasting this alone, I would not have known it had 30% less sugar.

Trying original Dairy Milk immediately after, it was apparent that there was a difference, but it was very slight. My two reporter friends couldn’t taste a difference, but I noticed the original version was a little sweeter and did have a slightly different flavour note. The thing that surprised me was that the textures were very similar.

I’m sure that 90% of people tasting the ‘less sugar’ version in isolation will not notice a difference. But I’m also sure that the 10% who do (or claim to), will be quite vocal about their longing for the good old days before Cadbury was sold off to the Americans.

To me, that discussion is largely irrelevant, because this new version will not replace the current Dairy Milk, but will simply be sold alongside it as an alternative. Glen told me that Cadbury would not be overtly pushing this as a ‘diet’ alternative, but simply another option.

I can see both pros and cons to this product. On the plus side, it’s an alternative for people who like their confectionery chocolate but just want to cut down on sugar a little. On the downside, it’s another step away from real chocolate, and perhaps a missed opportunity to develop a new higher cocoa, lower sugar chocolate without vegetable fats.

Consumers are certainly more aware of what’s in their chocolate, and I’d like to think the public is ready for a simpler, healthier and more ethical confectionery product with fewer ingredients. As a craft chocolate maker, my dream is to see all chocolate produced to the standards artisan makers hold so highly.


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Comments On This Post

  1. Fathima Hamid

    Welcome back to chocolate reviewing! Appreciate the informative review at that.

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