Slow and Steady Wins the Race for Sugar Reduction

A desire for sugar reduction has been expressed worldwide. In the UK, the Department of Health is showing strong support for the government’s target of 20% sugar reduction in products by 2020, although manufacturers are beginning to push back on this goal. Chile and Mexico are also putting similar regulations in place. Recent nutritional guidelines have hit the headlines in the US for “no added sugars” on product labels and many countries across Asia and the Pacific region, including India, are implementing strategies, such as improved dietary guidelines, sugar taxes and regulation alterations, to forcibly encourage change.

Many food and beverage manufacturers, as well as retailers (a recent example being Lidl in Germany and Albert Heijn in BeNeLux), are committed to reducing sugar, as well as fat and salt in their products. Companies such as Nestlé have hit the headlines with commitments to cut 10% of sugar in their confectionery ranges by 2018. However, as Dr Joerg Spieldenner, head of Nestlé’s Public Health Nutrition department has said, when it comes to reducing the sugar content in products: “…it’s very difficult from a technological point of view and from an education and consumer information point of view”.

Consumer perception of ‘sugar reduced’

More and more consumers understand the need to reduce daily sugar consumption; a recent survey in Germany shows that 48% of consumers are now actively cutting down or avoiding sugary foods. However, consumers are not prepared to sacrifice the taste and texture of their favourite products for sugar reduction and they are not keen on anything artificial in their food and drink either. Being ‘not artificial’ is seen as critical for consumers and globally more than half of those surveyed rated this as important, or very important, on pack and were also willing to pay more for foods and beverages made with no artificial sweeteners.

This article is available in full in the Summer 2017 issue of Nutraceuticals Now

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