Nestlé cuts sugar, adopts more sustainable packaging for Carnation Breakfast Essentials

Dive Brief:

  • Nestlé Health Science is reducing the added sugar in its ready-to-drink and powder Carnation Breakfast Essentials brand by 25%, the food giant said in a statement.
  • The drink product also now comes in Tetra Pak cartons, said to be made with responsibly sourced paper, and the packaging has been overhauled with a new look.
  • The updated Carnation Breakfast Essentials is the latest product overhaul by Nestlé and other food makers to reduce ingredients like sugar and salt while shifting the packaging to a more modern, consumer-friendly look and material.

Dive Insight:

Despite being on the market for more than half a century, Nestlé is making sure its Carnation Breakfast Essentials line doesn’t act its age. By cutting the amount of added sugars, incorporating a modern packaging design and improving its sustainability profile, Nestlé is hitting on a trifecta of issues that are important for shoppers when they decide what to buy — many of whom grew up with the drink and now are feeding it to their own kids and teens.

“As nutritional and environmental preferences evolve, Carnation Breakfast Essentials is committed to delivering delicious products that meet the needs of today’s consumers,” Abigail Buckwalter, president of Nestlé Health Science U.S., said in a statement. 

Carnation Breakfast Essentials has long touted its powder and drinks loaded with protein, vitamins C and D, and calcium, among other nutrients needed for growing younger consumers. The reformulation and new packaging by the Switzerland-based company takes that a step further to increase the brand’s recognition among consumers overwhelmed with choice on supermarket shelves.

For example, Nestlé is moving at least some of it Carnation Breakfast Essentials offerings from plastic bottles to Tetra Pak cartons made with paper it claims is responsibly sourced. The company has announced a goal to make 100% of its packaging fully recyclable or reusable by 2025. More than two-thirds of consumers consider it important that the products they buy are in recyclable packaging, according to Trivium Packaging’s 2021 Global Buying Green Report. The report also found more than half (54%) take sustainable packaging into consideration when selecting a product.

It’s a big reason why General Mills’ Nature Valley Crunchy granola bars, for example, moved to fully recyclable plastic wrappers starting last spring and PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division is introducing a compostable bag for its Off The Eaten Path brand. At the same time, Coca-Cola has introduced bottles made from 100% recycled plastic material while Mars Wrigley has partnered with Danimer Scientific to create biodegradable wrappers for Skittles. 

Nestlé has also joined other CPGs in vowing steeper cuts in salt, sugar and saturated fats used in its products. Even though Nestlé is positioning itself as more of a health, wellness and nutrition company, it isn’t leaving sugar behind. It knows where the consumer is heading and how to position itself.

In 2017, Nestlé made similar changes to Nesquik by reducing the sugar and devising a new advertising strategy without the brand’s dominating cartoon bunny. Both were part of a plan designed to boost sales of the popular item with health-conscious parents and tech-savvy kids.

Still, the world’s largest food manufacturer has found not all of its efforts to cut sugar have been a success. Two years ago, Nestlé discontinued its Milkybar Wowsomes lower-sugar chocolate bar that launched in the U.K. and Ireland. According to just-food, the CPG giant didn’t give a reason for discontinuing the product, but the chocolate bar reportedly saw disappointing sales and struggled to sustain distribution. The bar contained Nestlé’s sugar-reduction technology, which reduces sugar by 30%.

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