While sugar legislation has played a part in reshaping the sugar and sweeteners market, consumer demands are just as important, and look set to transform this industry. This report examines current consumer attitudes towards sugar and sweeteners, as well as new products that are trying to appeal to consumer thinking. The report then examines the effect on the ingredients industry as R&D investment and the rise of new technologies paves the way for new ingredients and new methods of sweetening.
The huge media coverage over the last decade relating to sugar and the onset of non-communicable diseases makes it unsurprising that consumers are looking to reduce sugar intake. However, consumer reasoning for this is not solely rooted in a desire to see specific clinical benefits but stems from a belief that cutting sugar intake will increase general healthiness.
As manufacturers consider reformulating, ingredient suppliers are working on new options. These include allulose and fermented stevia, both of which have been in development for some time. Both in theory can enable significant sugar reduction, however both have obstacles - technical and regulatory - to overcome.
In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, consumers have turned to comfort foods such as snacks and sugary products. As they look to do this with fewer consequences, reduced sugar items have become attractive as have products with added functional or health benefits, which include adaptogens and botanical ingredients.
While consumers want to cut sugar, there is no great clamour for natural sweeteners such as stevia, which has seen decelerating growth. However, as sugar taxes are imposed and with negative perceptions of artificial sweeteners hard to shift, natural sweeteners retain huge importance to manufacturers and suppliers as a tool for sugar reduction and as such innovation here remains high.
Despite artificial sweeteners seeming highly unpopular with consumers, steady growth has continued. This has been due to their entrenchment in low calorie carbonates as well as the fact they provide a cost-effective method of cutting sugar use entirely in beverages.
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