Consumer fear of sugar is mounting – but is it deserved and what alternatives will consumers accept?

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Consumer fear of sugar is mounting – but is it deserved and what alternatives will consumers accept?

Related tags sugar reduction Sweeteners Sugar Stevia

Using tactics such as “sin taxes” and a new bold-faced call-out for added sugar on the revised Nutrition Facts panel, public health advocates and regulators have targeted sugar as a primary caloric contributor in the ongoing obesity epidemic in the US – and sales data shows that consumers are listening.

Roughly one-third of Americans believe sugar is the source of calories most likely to cause weight gain, prompting about 50% of consumers to look for the sweetening agent on the nutrition panel and ingredient deck and 46% to say they strongly want to reduce their consumption of sugar, according to research recently published by the ingredient supplier Kerry.

In response, food and beverage manufacturers increasingly are calling out their sugar reduction efforts, resulting in a 14% increase in sugar-free claims from 2011 to 2015, and a 21% increase in no sugar added label claims and a 32% increase in low sugar claims, according to the ingredient supplier Cargill.

But just because consumers’ fear of sugar is mounting, doesn’t mean they are willing to sacrifice sweetness or sacrifice other ‘clean label’ values, such as a growing distaste for ‘artificial’ sweeteners and a desire for ‘natural’ ingredients – trapping manufacturers between a rock and a hard place.

So, what are manufacturers’ to do?

Find out by joining FoodNavigator-USA and an expert panel of speakers on April 30 at 12:30 ET​ for a free 60-minute online discussion on how to reduce sugar without reducing flavor or the taste and sensory experience that consumers want.

During the first 45 minutes of FNU’s upcoming The Sweet Spot: Reducing sugar without reducing flavor​, panelists including Aloha CEO Brad Charron​, Lily’s Sweet’s Founder Cynthia Tice​, and NuNaturals, Inc., President Jake Sablosky​ will share their first-hand experiences navigating the sweetener space and pros and cons of formulating with sugar and other sweeteners.

Julie Miller Jones​, a professor emerita of nutrition at St. Catherine University and Kris Sollid​, a senior director of nutrition communications at the International Food information Council, will also take a closer look at how consumers think about sugar and other sweeteners, how the labeling and regulatory changes related to sugar and sweeteners are affecting the market and the extent to which the ‘GMO factor’ is impacting purchasing decisions for sweeteners.

The last 15-minutes of the hour-long discussion, led by FoodNavigator-USA’s Deputy Editor Elizabeth Crawford​, will be dedicated to attendee’s questions.

This forum is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Cargill, Farbest Brands, ADM and Sweegen.

Learn more about the free forum and register HERE​.

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