Consumers Concerned Over Sugar; What Do They Want Instead?

April 25, 2018

More American consumers are cutting back on sugar intake as collective awareness rises of potential health impacts of the ingredient, says Food Navigator USA. For those consumers who still want something sweet, it isn't clear what they are looking for or what is the best option. According to new research from Nielsen, 57 percent of consumers report that low-sugar is important in deciding what to buy for their households, which is up from 55 percent last year, Katherine Allmandinger, manager of strategic insights at Nielsen Health & Wellness, told listeners of FoodNavigator-USA's recent Sweeteners and Sugar Reduction Live Forum on April 18. (Listen to the event on demand here).    

Since consumers want to avoid sugar, they are turning to product claims and the Nutrition Facts panel to help them decide what to buy. Although consumers look for claims such as no-sugar, low-sugar and low-glycemic, they do not trust sugar marketing claims. Rather, they are more concerned with what's actually in the product and will find out for themselves by reading the ingredients list.  

In the case of consumers who are looking for an alternative to sugar, it hasn't been clear which alternative they prefer. However, it seems that natural sweeteners have been most popular. Consumers are avoiding artificial sweeteners, such as sucrose, products with aspartame and high fructose corn syrup, because of the larger clean label movement that is sweeping the food and beverage industry. Natural sweeteners that have seen some growth include, categorically, honey and monkfruit.