Nestle chocolate
Nestle, which makes KitKat, said it has found a way cut the amount of sugar it uses in its products by up to 40%, while retaining the same sweet taste Getty Images

Swiss food giant Nestle claims it has found a way to cut the amount of sugar it uses in its products, while retaining the same sweet taste.

The firm, which makes KitKat and Yorkie bars among others, said its scientists have found a method to naturally alter the structure of sugar crystals so they dissolve more quickly.

It added this will allow it to "significantly decrease the total sugar in its confectionery".

Stefan Catsicas, Nestlé Chief Technology Officer, said: "This truly groundbreaking research is inspired by nature and has the potential to reduce total sugar by up to 40% in our confectionery."

The move comes as many consumers seek healthier diets and governments battle to control high obesity levels, which add billions of dollars to healthcare budgets.

A lot of pressure on reducing sugar has focused on drinks, where governments from the UK, South Africa and Mexico have either introduced taxes on sugary drinks or have drawn up plans to do so.

Nestlé said it will patent its findings and begin to use the faster-dissolving sugar across a range of its confectionery products from 2018.

The World Health Organization recommends that people limit their daily intake of added sugar to 10% of total energy intake. It estimates sugar accounts for between 16-17% of our daily energy intake in the UK.