At first glance, I thought the news that most people thought the forthcoming sugar tax on soft drinks also applied to sweets, chocolate, biscuits and cakes was quite shocking. What is more, the Nielsen survey from which the news originated found that 28% of people didn’t think it applied to soft drinks. But then I thought about it a bit more and concluded: ’No, not really’. I think that’s because things like this are the talk of the industry but the powers that be forget (intentionally or otherwise) to tell the end user ie the consumer. When they changed the legal age for buying cigarettes a few years ago (from 16 to 18) who told the 16- and 17-year-olds? The poor old retailer and their shop staff.
This means that when their can of Coke or Red Bull goes up overnight, it’s you that’s going to have to tell them.
Back to sugar, or rather lack of it, and I thought I’d try some of the lower-sugar sweets that are now on the market.
Nestlé has launched lower-sugar Randoms and Fruit Pastilles, packs of which carry the bold message: "30% less sugar. 100% fruity flavour". On the back it says "No artificial sweeteners. Tasty stuff!".
Glucose syrup and sugar are the main ingredients and on the front of the packs, the sugar content is highlighted in red 12.9g for Randoms and 14g for Fruit Pastilles.
And the taste not bad, but not a patch on the real thing. They are sweet but not quite sweet enough.
However, they are a damn sight better than Fruittella’s effort. To be fair, they are sugar free and ’sweetened by nature’ stevia to be exact. I tried the Fruit Gums and the Fruit Foams. There are bold messages on-pack including: ’Enjoy and share a fantastic fruity experience without any sugar’ and ’Our Fruit Gums/Foams are sweetened with steviol glycosides which is present in the leaves of stevia’. And under that message and the list of ingredients is the sentence you see on every other sugar-free sweet: ’Excessive consumption may produce laxative effects’. But I don’t think that will be a problem with the Fruit Gums as I couldn’t give them away. Tastes like "chewing a tyre" was probably the nicest thing someone said about them!