The amount of sugar in British chocolate bars doubles in less than 30 years as the Cadbury Fruit & Nut content increases from 32% to 55%, while Sainsbury's milk chocolate jumps from 23% to 54%. How much is in YOUR bar?

  • The team of Queen Mary University of London compared the sugar content
  • Researchers said that an increase in the cost of expensive cocoa could be to blame
  • The average sugar content in 1992 was 44.6% by weight, compared with 54.7% in 2019

The amount of sugar in some of Britain's most popular chocolate bars has increased, despite commitments by industry to reduce levels to combat obesity.

According to a new study, the bars produced by Cadbury, Nestle and some supermarkets contained on average 44% by weight of sugar in 1992 and now account for 54% of sugar.

The researchers said increasing the cost of cocoa, which is much more expensive than sugar, could be to blame.

The graph shows the percentage of chocolate bars today that are sugary compared to 1992

The graph shows the percentage of chocolate bars today that are sugary compared to 1992

A team from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) compared the sugar content of popular candy bars from 1992 to today's.

They found that the sugar content in 1992 averaged 44.6% by weight, compared to 54.7% in 2019.

Increase in sugar content from 1992 to 2019

Cadbury Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut 32% – 54.5%

Cadbury Flake 47% – 55.5%

Cadbury Curly Wurly 40% – 49%

Cadbury Double Decker 40% – 54%

Cadbury Fudge 50% – 65%

Cadbury Milk Caramel 42% – 53.5%

Yorkie Raisin & Biscuit by Nestlé 53% – 58%

Swiss Milk Chocolate by Marks & Spencer 43% – 50.2%

Sainsbury's Milk Chocolate 22.9% – 53.6%

Sainsbury's milk chocolate Brazil nuts 32.7% – 41%

Of the bars studied, Sainsbury's milk chocolate registered the largest increase in sugar, rising from 22.9 percent to 53.6 percent.

Several Cadbury bars, including Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut, whose sugar content rose from 32 to 54.5 percent, as well as sweets from Nestle and Marks & Spencer, also had significantly higher sugar content.

Kawther Hashem, a nutritionist from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at QMUL, who led the study, told the Sunday Times, "The sugar content of these brands has increased dramatically over time.

Adults' sugar intake averages about 14 teaspoons a day – twice the recommended maximum – and 13 teaspoons in children, and is associated with tooth decay, obesity, and diabetes. "

In June of last year, the government called on food retailers and food manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar in food, which is most eaten by children, by 20 percent by next year.

Ministers say that British children eat the recommended amount three times a day, with chocolate and sweets making up about six percent of the sugar intake in their diet.

Nestlé's original Yorkie bar weighed 58g in the 1980s, but now weighs 46g

Nestlé's original Yorkie bar weighed 58g in the 1980s, but now weighs 46g

Chocolate is the most popular sweetener in the UK, according to market researchers at Mintel. Last year, around 509,000 tonnes were sold with a retail value of £ 5.2bn, and sales are expected to increase 9% to £ 5.7bn by 2023.

Political pressure has prompted confectioners to promise reductions in sugar content per serving.

Several Cadbury bars, including Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut, whose sugar content rose from 32 percent to 54.5 percent

Several Cadbury bars, including Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut, whose sugar content rose from 32 percent to 54.5 percent

However, they have also been criticized for simply shredding the size of individual bars while marketing so-called "sharing" bags that are said to be destined for more than one but are often consumed alone and are now among the fastest-growing chocolate products.

In the old days, Mars bars weighed 65 g in the 90s, today they weigh 51 g. Nestlé's original Yorkie bar weighed 58g in the 1980s, but now weighs 46g.

And Cadbury has confirmed that some of its most popular bars, including Chomp, Curly Wurly and Fudge, will shrink next year.

And Cadbury has confirmed that some of its most popular bars, including Chomp, Curly Wurly (pictured) and Fudge, will shrink next year

And Cadbury has confirmed that some of its most popular bars, including Chomp, Curly Wurly (pictured) and Fudge, will shrink next year

Activists say a "calorie tax" on cakes, candy bars and other processed foods is the only way to tackle the obesity crisis. It follows the success of the sugar tax, which came into force last year, meaning that carbonated beverage manufacturers are taxed at up to 24 pence per liter.

They say this would hold manufacturers accountable and force them to reformulate "over-calorie" products to make them healthier rather than just downsizing.

Following the proposals to be submitted in the fall, food companies would pay the levy and then decide whether to pass the costs on to consumers. The funds raised by the levy would be earmarked and used to combat obesity in children.

Nestlé spokesman said it was eager to make healthier products.

"We encourage and recommend a healthy lifestyle with a varied diet," he said. "High-sugar products should be consumed in moderation, and we look for clear labeling."

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