Nestlé has introduced a versatile and cost-effective sugar reduction technology that can be applied across different product categories, with benefits beyond sugar reduction. It can also be used to produce low lactose and skimmed milk-based products, while reducing total sugars.
Using an enzymatic process, it reduces intrinsic sugar in ingredients such as malt, milk, and fruit juices by up to 30 %, with a minimal impact on taste and texture. The sugar-reduced ingredients are then used in recipes for various products. There is no need to add sweeteners or bulking agents to replace the volume of the eliminated sugar.
When the patented sugar reduction method is applied to milk-based products, it also increases prebiotic fibers. First clinical studies have shown that these fibers can support the growth of multiple types of beneficial bacteria leading to a favourable microbiome composition in healthy adults.
Stefan Palzer, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer says, “Sugar reduction across our portfolio remains a top priority. This new technology is a true breakthrough, as we can reduce sugar without adding sweeteners while preserving a great taste, all at a minimal cost increase. In addition, our scientists discovered that the sugar reduction generates prebiotic fibers that support the microbiome, which is an additional benefit. We are now accelerating the global roll-out across formats and categories.”
The sugar reduction was first piloted in cocoa and malt-based ready-to-drink beverages in Southeast Asia and over the past year, Nestlé has already introduced it in factory lines for cocoa and malt-based powdered beverages such as Milo across several countries across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Since 2021, the sugar reduction technology has been applied to over 200 000 tons of cocoa and malt-based beverages. The roll-out continues, and other product categories such as dairy powders will follow.
The development of novel technologies is part of Nestlé’s continuous efforts to improve the nutritional value of its products, while supporting responsible consumption as part of a balanced diet. The new sugar reduction technology complements a wide range of existing solutions which Nestlé has developed over the years in collaboration with external innovation partners and suppliers. This includes natural sweeteners, sweetness-enhancing or bitterness masking flavours, as well as natural bulking agents such as fibers, cereals and tailor-made dairy and cocoa powders.
Nestlé USA announced that it has acquired Essentia Water (“Essentia”), a premium functional water brand headquartered in Bothell, Washington. Essentia pioneered ionized alkaline water more than twenty years ago and is the leading brand in that space in the U.S. Essentia’s 2020 sales were USD 192 million.
This transaction is part of Nestlé’s continued transformation of its global water business, which was announced in June 2020. The company is sharpening its portfolio to focus on international premium and mineral water brands and healthy hydration products, such as functional water. This follows the agreement to sell Nestlé’s U.S. and Canadian regional spring water brands, purified water business and beverage delivery service announced in February.
Nestlé S.A. announced that it has reached an agreement to sell its regional spring water brands, purified water business and beverage delivery service in the U.S. and Canada to One Rock Capital Partners in partnership with Metropoulos & Co. for USD 4.3 billion. The Company’s international premium brands including Perrier®, S.Pellegrino® and Acqua Panna® are not a part of the deal. The transaction is expected to close following the completion of customary closing conditions.
The sale includes the following brands in the U.S. and Canada, which had sales of around CHF 3.4 billion in 2019: Poland Spring® Brand 100 % Natural Spring Water, Deer Park® Brand 100 % Natural Spring Water, Ozarka® Brand 100 % Natural Spring Water, Ice Mountain® Brand 100 % Natural Spring Water, Zephyrhills® Brand 100 % Natural Spring Water, Arrowhead® Brand Mountain Spring Water, Pure Life® and Splash. It also comprises the U.S. direct-to-consumer and office beverage delivery service ReadyRefresh®.
The agreement follows Nestlé’s announcement last year that it would conduct a strategic review of parts of the North American waters division and sharpen the focus of its global water portfolio.
Commenting on the transaction, Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO, said: “We continue to transform our global waters business to best position it for long-term profitable growth. This sale enables us to create a more focused business around our international premium brands, local natural mineral waters and high-quality healthy hydration products. We will also boost our innovation and business development efforts to capture emerging consumer trends, such as functional water.”
Nestlé reiterated its commitment to make its entire water portfolio carbon neutral by 2025. In 2020, Nestlé announced renewed sustainability commitments which build on existing efforts to enhance water stewardship and tackle plastic waste.
Ozarka®, Deer Park® and Zephyrhills® join Poland Spring® in using 100 % rPET bottles in multiple sizes. All Nestlé Waters North America U.S. domestic packaging continues to be 100 % recyclable.
Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) announced that three more of our U.S. domestic still water brands have started to convert their packaging to 100 % recycled plastic. Ozarka® Brand 100 % Natural Spring Water, Deer Park® Brand 100 % Natural Spring Water and Zephyrhills® Brand 100 % Natural Spring Water packaging, which has long been 100 % recyclable, will now be both 100 % recyclable and made from 100 % recycled plastic. With the expansion of recycled plastic (rPET) to these brands, nearly 60 % of all households in the U.S. will have access to one of Nestlé’s regionally distributed spring water brands in bottles made entirely with recycled plastic.
The packaging conversion for these three brands means that NWNA has now doubled the amount of rPET used since 2019 across its U.S. domestic portfolio to 16.5 %. This step brings the company closer to achieving its goals of using 25 % rPET across its U.S. domestic portfolio by 2021 and 50 % rPET by 2025. By accelerating the use of rPET in its bottles, NWNA is leading the shift from virgin plastic to recycled plastic and helping to create an end-market for sustainable rPET. Using recycled plastic can help keep it out of landfills, waterways and oceans, and reduces greenhouse gases by 67 % compared to using new plastic1.
To help consumers identify the new rPET bottles, all three brands will include a new message on the labels of the 20 oz, 700 mL, 1 L and 1.5 L bottles, stating they are both 100 % recyclable and now are also made from 100 % recycled plastic. To provide greater transparency about the source of the water, the labels will also include a QR code that allows people to scan and track the journey of the water they’re drinking, as well as the bottle. Ozarka will be launching a TV, digital and social media campaign this summer to inform Texans of the new rPET bottles. Understanding that bottles need to be recycled in order to create bottles with other bottles, Zephyrhills will be launching limited edition labels that encourage consumers to recycle through a bold message stating, ‘I’m Not Trash! I’m 100 % Recyclable.’ This message will accompany the “100 % recycled” message on the applicable bottle sizes.
NWNA’s ability to expand its use of recycled plastic partially relies on existing bottles being recycled when empty. Unfortunately, right now, less than 30 % of PET bottles are recycled and many recovered beverage containers are being down-cycled and used in non-food contact applications versus being made back into beverage containers. While giving a plastic beverage container another life in products such as carpets and textiles ensures one more use, it does not represent the highest and best use of food-grade recycled material. Recognizing these challenges in obtaining enough rPET to incorporate into more of our product packaging, NWNA will continue to work collectively with industry, NGOs, governments and consumers to address critical issues related to infrastructure, collection, policy, consumer education, and development of end-markets for recycled materials.
To help the underfunded and often outdated recycling infrastructure in the U.S., NWNA made a $6 million investment in the Closed Loop Infrastructure Fund to support projects that help increase recycling capabilities throughout the country. In 2019, Poland Spring collaborated with The Recycling Partnership to launch the first Instagram recycling hotline to help Americans understand what is recyclable in their communities. NWNA was also the first beverage company to add How2Recycle information on the labels of its major U.S. brands, reminding consumers to empty the bottle and replace the cap before recycling.
1Association of Plastic Recyclers (2018)
Nestlé announced the creation of the Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, dedicated to the discovery and development of functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions. This is a step further to achieve the Company’s commitment to make 100 % of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said, “We want to be a leader in developing the most sustainable packaging solutions for our food and beverage products. To achieve this, we are enhancing our research capabilities to develop new packaging materials and solutions. Through this, we hope to address the growing packaging waste problem, in particular plastics. We aim to minimize our impact on the natural environment while safely delivering to our consumers healthier and tastier products.”
The Nestlé Institute of Packaging Sciences, which is part of Nestlé’s global research organization, will be located in Lausanne, Switzerland. It will employ around 50 people and include a state-of-the-art laboratory complex as well as facilities for rapid prototyping.
In close collaboration with the Company’s global R&D network, academic partners, suppliers and start-ups, the institute will evaluate the safety and functionality of various sustainable packaging materials. Research focus areas will include recyclable, biodegradable or compostable polymers, functional paper, as well as new packaging concepts and technologies to increase the recyclability of plastic packaging. The new solutions will be tested in various product categories, before they are rolled out across Nestlé’s global portfolio.
Nestlé Chief Technology Officer Stefan Palzer said, “Packaging plays a crucial role in helping us deliver safe and nutritious products to our consumers. The new Institute of Packaging Sciences will enable us to accelerate the redesign of our packaging solutions. Cutting-edge science as well as a close collaboration with globally leading academic institutions and industrial partners will deliver a pipeline of highly performing environmentally friendly packaging solutions.”