The female-focused brand - one tagline on the website explains 'why wholegrain is a girl's best friend' - will be re-launched in Europe this month through Nestlé’s JV with General Mills, Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW); a roll-out to Latin America and Asia will follow.
The company said it achieved the cut by replacing the sugar with whole wheat and rice.
"Sugar levels in Nestlé Fitness Original in Europe have been reduced by 30% versus the previous recipe. This also represents a significant nutrition advantage versus comparable products in the wellness line of breakfast cereal – Fitness Original has 30% less sugar than the average competitive products in the market. The new sugar level for Fitness Original is 11.8%, consistently across Europe," Nestlé corporate spokesperson Meike Schmidt told BakeryandSnacks.com.
France, Spain, Italy and Greece are major Fitness markets
She added that the main European markets for Fitness include France, Spain, Italy and Greece. "We are working on the roll-out of the new Fitness cereal to Latin America and Asia, but we cannot yet confirm exact dates," Schmidt said.
Reducing sugar levels inside the flakes and adding it to the surface coating provides enough sweetness, Nestlé said, while new Fitness contains as much iron and calcium as the original product and no artificial sweeteners.
Nestlé said that this revamp formed part of its ongoing effort to improve the nutritional profile of products.
"We have made a firm commitment to nutritional improvements across our entire breakfast cereal portfolio as part of on-going efforts to make eating a healthier breakfast easier, without compromising on taste. The Fitness Original sugar reduction is the result of many years of investment by the CPW research and development group," Schmidt told this website.
"To achieve this significant improvement we engaged in a rigorous testing process. Our challenge was to improve the overall nutritional density of the product while retaining the taste Fitness enthusiasts enjoy, without adding any artificial sweeteners," she added.
Whole grain fortification for kids' cereals
One example of Nestlé's product renovation program is the February 2013 commitment from CPW to improve the nutrition of its cereal brands that are popular with children and teenagers by cutting salt and sugar levels and fortifying products with whole grain.
This program covers Nesquik, Chocapic, Koko Krunch, Honey Cheerios, Cini Minis, Cookie Crisp, Golden Grahams, Lion, Crunch, Stars, Estrelitas, Kosmostars, Milo, Nescau, Snow Flakes, Zucosos, Trix, La Lechera/Moca Flakes, Golden Nuggets and brand extensions.
The company pledged that by the end of 2015, all these cereals would: contain 9g of total sugars or less per 30g serving, be made with more whole grain than any other ingredient, provide a good source of calcium - 15% of the recommended daily amount/RDA (decided on a per country basis by national authorities) per serving.
The renovation began in Europe in 2013, and will roll out to other regions by the end of 2015.
CPW was founded in 1990 as a JV between Nestlé and General Mills. Headquarted in Lausanne, Switzerland, it has annual sales of $1.75bn+.