THAILAND – Nestle Thailand has invested US$6.6 million in the production of a no sugar Milo beverage range to address the growing need for healthier and less sugar products among consumers.

The innovation was also in response to the country’s sugar reduction policy which aims to reduce the risk of sugar-related illnesses among its population.

Milo UHT No Sucrose contains no added sugar, and all energy derived from the chocolate drink will come from its milk and malt components, according to Nestle.

To promote its health-enhancing benefits, the new product has received the Thai Healthier Choice Logo, becoming one of 48 Nestle SKUs with this certification.

The product was developed from a collaboration Nestlé’s global R&D centre in Switzerland, the regional level in Singapore, and the research and development team in Thailand.

It is available in several outlets across Thailand in 180ml UHT pack retailing at US$0.41 with plans to roll it out in convenience stores, retail stores, supermarkets, and hypermarkets nationwide from June this year.

The new Milo UHT No Sucrose joins Milo 30% Less Sugar, first launched in 2017 and regular Milo.

Made with no added sugar, the new range is the first product released by the company meant to complement the government’s public health policy of encouraging Thai people to consume an appropriate amount of sugar.

“There is a growing trend among consumers who are becoming more health conscious to look for products that don’t contain sucrose to help reduce the amount of sugar they consume each day,” said Chaiyong Sakulborrirug, Nestle Thailand Business Executive Officer Dairy & Adult Nutrition.

“The public and private sector are educating consumers about appropriate sugar consumption and offering them new alternatives for healthy products with less sugar.”

“This new variant of Milo is one of several projects ongoing in different countries where MILO is sold to meet consumer demands for tastier and healthier products,” he said.

“We are on a journey to reduce the amount of added sugar in across our Milo range, while ensuring that the products meet consumer taste preference.”

Companies like Nestle are embracing innovation in response to Thailand’s implementation of a sugar tax, phased over six years beginning 2017.

As of March 2019, tax rates in Thailand for sugar-sweetened drinks stand at an excise rate of 14% (of retail price) plus additional sugar taxing according to content.

Beginning 1 October 2019, this will change to a 10% excise tax and higher adjusted sugar content taxing.

Suntory PepsiCo has also announced the launch of a reduced-sugar version of its Lipton Ice Green Tea Honey Lemon for the Thai market.