Sugar Rush or Sugar Push

Consumer Attitudes

The sugar phenomenon has been linked to contradictory consumer attitudes towards its reduction in confectionery and other foods. While global health trends pushed many food companies towards reducing or eliminating sugar from their products, consumers are not keen on artificial sweeteners replacing sugar, as it contradicts the ‘natural ingredients’ trend and considerably alters the flavour profile. Nevertheless, many food companies have been pushed towards dealing with the sugar content in their products due to consumer demand and changing regulations worldwide. This is evidenced by the FDA’s new nutrition facts panel in the US demanding larger and bolder calorie declarations on packaging. Meanwhile in the UK there is an ongoing sugar tax debate.

When it comes to sweeteners, the biggest hurdle has been the fact that the majority of consumers do not enjoy the taste of sweeteners and do not want to compromise flavour for health benefits. Moreover, the numbers that tolerate no-sugar or low-sugar products varies drastically from market to market. For example, 44% of soft drink sales in the UK have no sugar and no calories, compared to 1% in Lithuania and 7% in Italy according to UNESDA which represents approximately 75% of European soft drink manufacturers. According to Sula, a German sweets manufacturer with a market presence across Europe, Germany’s sugar-free sweets market accounts for 30% compared to the UK where approximately 5% of manufacturers replace sugar with sweeteners.

This is especially true for more indulgent products such as chocolate, as consumers prefer sugar replaced by premium ingredients rather than sweeteners.

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Malachy Mitchell

Managing Director

As Farrelly and Mitchell's co-founder and Managing Director, Malachy provides unmatched expertise. Working alongside CEO's, executives, and leaders from public and private sectors, Malachy empowers agribusinesses to fully achieve their potential.

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