Less sugar, fat and salt? Nestlé has achieved less than was promised

Less sugar, fat and salt? Nestlé has achieved less than was promised

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Video with Minister: Consumer advocates cannot confirm Nestlé statements

A few weeks ago, the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, stood in front of the camera with the head of Germany at the food company Nestlé and praised the company for the reduction of sugar, fat and salt. But according to consumer advocates, the company has probably promised too much.

Reduction of sugar, fat and salt in finished products

At the beginning of June, the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), Julia Klöckner, published a video on the short message service Twitter, in which she can be seen with Marc-Aurel Boersch, Germany chief of the food group Nestlé, and in which she supported the company for the reduction praises of sugar, fat and salt in finished products. "You reduced 10% of the content; another 5% are to follow, ”says a written accompanying text. But consumer advocates are now pointing out that the company has promised too much.

Allegation: Minister made an "advertising video" for the group

The minister's video triggered a massive wave of criticism online. Many accused Klöckner of having been used by the controversial company for PR purposes.

Among the critics were prominent politicians such as the Green Group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt, who accused the Minister of Agriculture of shooting an "advertising video for Nestlé".

Klöckner apparently saw her approach as unproblematic. In another tweet, she wrote:

"To the Hatespeaker, because I spoke to Nestlé: Read my own demands # sugar reduction! It is a success that companies are implementing our goals for better food. First assume that nothing happens. Then go crazy when you achieve something ”.

But the allegations were not that wrong. After all, Nestlé apparently promised too much, according to consumer advocates.

Old-new comparison for various Nestlé products

The Hamburg Consumer Center conducted an old-to-new comparison of various Nestlé products after Mark-Aurel Boersch, CEO of Nestlé Germany, said in the video above that Nestlé's products are now 10 percent less sugar, fat and salt contained than in the past.

Hamburg's consumer advocates randomly researched the nutritional values ​​of a total of 24 Nestlé products from 2008 to 2016 and compared them with the current range.

The balance sheet of the experts is disappointing.

"With the comparative values ​​of our sample, we cannot confirm the statements of the Nestlé boss," explains Armin Valet from the Hamburg Consumer Center in a message.

According to the information, the reduction is only 5.7 percent for sugar and 0 percent for fat. The company would have clearly missed the targets it had set itself.

In contrast, over half of the products examined (13 out of 24) have the same or even a higher sugar content. 60 percent (15 out of 24) contain the same or even more fat.

The calorie content of the examined foods is therefore currently just as high as it was years ago.

Some products are now even sweeter than before

Only 17 percent (4 out of 24) of the products checked did Nestlé reduce the sugar content by the promised ten percent.

According to the consumer advice center, the cereals "Nesquik Duo" and "Fitness Knusperflakes" stand out positively. The new recipe of the "Nesquik cocoa powder 30% less sugar" now also contains even less sugar.

The classic cocoa powder from the "Nesquik" brand is still sold with a sugar content of over 75 percent. And the “Smarties Schokolinsen” and the “KitKat Chunky” bar are now even sweeter than their predecessors.

No fat reduction found

Only 13 percent (three out of 24) of the foods tested, the cereals “Nesquik Duo” and “Clusters Almond” and the “Maggi animal figurine soup” had their fat content dropped by over ten percent in the past nine years.

Many other products such as the "Maggi Asparagus Cream Soup Bon Appetit", which is currently equipped with almost twice as much fat as in 2015, do not cut a good figure.

Ready-made foods of this kind in the sample ensure that the consumer advice center as a whole was not able to determine any fat reduction.

But apparently Nestlé has made progress with salt. According to consumer advocates, the labels checked show an average of around 11.3 percent lower salt values.

However, it is pointed out that the salinity does not play an important role in many products, such as confectionery.

"Right to more transparency"

"We are wondering how and where Nestlé has saved 10 percent sugar, fat and salt in each of the last few years and on what data basis the group bases its statements on," says Valet.

The consumer protection sample shows a different picture.

"Consumers have the right to more transparency and less whitening! Anyone who reduces completely sugar-coated children's products to a very high level shouldn't pat themselves on the shoulder, ”says Valet.

As stated in the communication, an independent information portal that maps and supports the development of the nutritional value of products could help to make providers more responsible.

All 24 products in the sample, the researched nutritional values ​​as well as the calculated reductions for sugar, fat, salt and the calorie content were published by the Hamburg Consumer Center on their website. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Hamburg Consumer Center: Has Nestlé promised too much in the reduction of sugar, fat and salt ?, (accessed: June 23, 2019), Consumer Center Hamburg
  • 2 tweets on Twitter of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and Federal Minister Julia Klöckner, (access: June 23, 2019)

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