Dutch-Italian confectioner Perfetti Van Melle has launched a line of sugar-free and reduced-sugar candy products in the UK under its Fruitella brand.

The new sugar-free Fruittella Fruit Foams and Fruit Gums, plus the Fruittella 30% Less Sugar chewy sweets, target what Perfetti said is the “on-the-go snacking market” or “family big night-in”.

Perfetti said consumers will still be able to opt for its “classic” chewy sweets line, which contain 54g of sugars per 100g of product.

Perfetti said it launched the new products in response to Kantar Worldpanel research conducted in 2016 that indicated 92% of consumers are actively trying to reduce the amount of sugar they buy “and pressure mounting within other categories to reduce sugar content”.

Fruittella Fruit Foams and Fruitella Fruit Gums are available in 80g and 90g packs respectively at an RRP of GBP1.19 (US$1.46). The 30% Less Sugar sweets are available in 120g packs for an RRP of GBP1.19.

The Fruittella 30% Less Sugar sweets are available in strawberry and summer fruits flavours. The sweets have “no artificial flavours, colourings or sweeteners”. Instead, Perfetti said the new recipe “replaces a proportion of sugar with the very same real fruit juice consumers always find in Fruittella”.

Fruittella brand manager Matthew Navier said there is “absolutely nothing artificial” in the sugar-free products, which use stevia “to retain the classic taste of Fruittella”. “Each foam and gum is full of flavours with absolutely no sugar and no artificial sweeteners,” Navier said.

Perfetti declined to say whether the new products, on sale in the UK through grocery, convenience and wholesale outlets, will also be launched in other markets.

A recent report published by just-food argues food companies must accelerate moves to cut the sugar content of their products, or step up efforts to reformulate in other ways to reduce the amount of the ingredient, in the face of growing regulatory pressure.