This report examines the topic of the War on Sugar in the food and drink industry, understanding consumer attitudes and behaviors when it comes to the ingredient. Over the last decade, sugar has emerged as the number one dietary evil because of the link with rising obesity and diabetes rates. As as a result of this, negative sentiment towards sugar has intensified and consumers state that they are making conscious efforts to avoid sugar. However, the reality can often be different. For instance, consumers do not actively monitor their sugar intake or seek out sugar substitutes, whilst any actual attempts to reduce sugar tends to be short-lived. This report examines the complexity surrounding the trend War on Sugar and sugar reduction in products, highlighting what consumers real want and how the industry can respond to this.
Consumers say that they are looking to eat and drink healthier. When it comes to what constitutes a healthy product, four in ten consumers say that zero sugar claims make a product healthy. The most important factor for consumers is that products contain only natural ingredients. This means that brands should look to combine natural formulation and zero sugar claims to target consumers who want moments of guilt-free indulgence. It is worth noting that zero sugar claims are see as far more influential when it comes to perceiving a product as healthy compared to zero calorie claims.
The high levels of attention surrounding the negative impact that sugar can have on health is resulting in consumers saying that they are making conscious attempts to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners. The reality is – as highlighted later on in this report – that whilst consumers say they are making conscious attempts to avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners, they are not actually doing so. Indeed, many consumers are often unable to say how much of certain micronutrients they have consumed in the last 24 hours and will often adopt a short-term only approach to sugar reduction. Finally, it needs to be remembered that irrespective of health concerns, consumers will always prioritize taste over health.
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