Nestlé’s axing of its Milkybar Wowsomes range highlights the continued struggle around selling reduced-sugar confectionery, according to retailers.

Launched in 2018, Wowsomes had 30% less sugar than similar chocolate products

The manufacturer’s discontinuation represents the second flop of a high-profile healthier confectionery launch in just over a year. In late 2018, Mars Wrigley shelved its “biggest brand launch for 20 years”, Goodness Knows, after just 18 months.

Goodness Knows: Mars’ biggest launch in 20 years

Describing challenges for healthier launches, Mike Nichols, of Costcutter Dringhouses in York, said: “Cadbury also released a similar product with reduced sugar. However, we’ve not seen huge demand, as they just don’t taste the same as a chocolate bar with more sugar. When customers buy a bar, they usually want the full-sugar version.”

Jimmy Patel, of Premier Jimmy’s Store in Northampton, added: “Customers don’t really want the reduced versions. They buy them as a treat.”

Nestlé accepted that Milkybar Wowsomes “did not meet consumer expectations”, but added it had developed “even higher-performing, more versatile and affordable sugar-reduction technology”.

“We are now concentrating our efforts on a rapid rollout of this solution. The first launches using the new technology are scheduled to take place in mid-2020,” the company said.

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