DSM: 47 percent of consumers are more concerned about sugar consumption than 3 years ago

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16 Oct 2017 --- DSM has published a new report in its Global Insight Series focusing on consumer attitudes and behavior around the labeling of sugar content. The report, based on an international survey, shows that concern about sugar is on the rise globally, with nearly half of all consumers saying they are more concerned about overall sugar consumption than they were three years ago. In most countries, label reading has become the norm with more than 50 percent of global consumers say they check the sugar content of foods before they buy.

DSM’s survey, conducted in July 2017 with 8,000 consumers in the US, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Germany, Spain, Vietnam and Japan, shows these trends are strongest among women, consumers under 35, and people with children. The survey finds that 50 percent of women are more concerned about their sugar intake than three years ago (versus 44 percent of men); that 59 percent of consumers ages 26-35 always or almost always check the label for sugar content (versus 55 percent of the general population); and that 64 percent of people with children have researched the health risks of sugar (versus 55 percent of people without children).  
 
Despite a growing concern for sugar content, consumers are also actively avoiding artificial sweeteners. The majority prefer to Click to Enlargesee products that claim they are sweetened with “only natural sweeteners” followed by a preference for “no sugar added products.” When it comes to paying more for healthier options, natural is key as 50 percent of consumers say they are willing to pay more for products that claim “only natural sweeteners” are used, and 45 percent are willing to pay more for “no artificial sweeteners.”

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Merel Roes, Global Business Line Manager Dairy Enzymes, DSM said: “This report on labeling is the first in a mini-series we are publishing the results of our very extensive study, which also looks at consumer perceptions of different sweeteners and where consumers get information about sugar and its alternatives. These reports will be published in the coming months.”

“We see significant demand for sugar reduction within sugar-sweetened beverages and dairy products. There are many reasons for this. These are products people consume regularly and believe to be healthy, but which can contain added sugars. They are also the focus for sugar reduction at many food manufacturers and retailers. Especially within the dairy category, 61% of respondents to our survey say they are trying to reduce their sugar intake in dairy by reducing their portion sizes, switching to plain products, or switching to reduced-sugar or no-added-sugar varieties.”

“The focus on sugar-reduction dovetails with a move toward cleaner and clearer labels,” Roes explains. “Some consumers are moving away from artificial sweeteners and want more natural-sounding ingredients that they can understand. Making these naturally-occurring ingredients available to a larger number of people is the task of the ingredients industry now.” 

“That’s why DSM will introduce a great-tasting steviol glycoside sweetener to the market, that is naturally-occurring in the stevia plant in only small amounts and therefore not available for mass markets. Through fermentation, DSM can unlock the potential of this great-tasting sweetener and deliver it to the market in a reliable and sustainable way, allowing customers to reach their goals in sugar reduction across a broad range of beverage, dairy, and cereals applications,” she notes.

Further findings of the elaborate research show that consumers want to be in control of their sugar intake, and expect food manufacturers and retailers to play a key role. More than 60 percent of respondents agreed that manufacturers and retailers should do more to reduce sugar or create less sugared versions of their products, which shows a clear market opportunity for continued new product development and reformulations of existing products.  
 
For dairy applications, DSM has an enzyme- and culture-based sugar reduction concept on offer. With the help of Maxilact, the sweetness that is naturally present in dairy products can be doubled, creating a preferred sweet taste with less or no added sugar. DSM cultures provide enhanced taste and texture. Furthermore, the company is developing a fermentation-based steviol glycoside sweetener which will suit a broad range of dairy, beverage, and cereal applications. This reliable and sustainable product will become commercially available in 2018.

You can view the full report here

By Elizabeth Green

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