Studies by ingredient manufacturers over the past 18 months have come to the same conclusion…consumers are actively avoiding or reducing sugar. Sugar reduction and experts Ingredion data reveals that sugar content is what consumers most often look for on the front of packages today, with a consumer survey revealing that a third of his shoppers are actively reducing their sugar intake.
This is a claim backed up by fellow ingredient manufacturer ADM, whose own data reveals that 8 in 10 EU consumers are actively avoiding or cutting back on sugar.
Restructuring of the food and beverage industry is a major priority, with the potential impact of regulatory moves and the growing momentum behind front end displays like Nutri-Score as an important tailwind.
Sarah Diedrich, marketing director for ADM’s global sweeteners and texturizing division, told sister title foodnavigator.com:“The motivations vary,” he said of such a high level of commitment to sugar reduction. Health is an important factor,” she suggested. Sometimes it’s as simple as people believe that sweet products are “too sweet.”“
Demand for low-sugar options is wide-ranging, with even the most luxurious categories such as ice cream and sweet biscuits launching products claiming low-sugar, low-sugar, no additives or even zero in every category over the past two years.
According to Innova data showing the launch of ice cream and biscuits with sugar messages, the CAGR from 2017 to 2021 is 13% and 14% respectively, with the sports nutrition sector not only a dairy replacement market but also a growing area for sugar reduction claims. “
There is a big trend in the confectionery industry called ‘luxury for the heart’, resulting in new formulations that use the natural flavor of cocoa as a sugar reducer to provide the impact and luxury that consumers demand.
One of the biggest challenges in replacing sugar with high-intensity sweeteners in confectionery formulations is the loss of functional properties such as bulking and texturizing, and many ingredients and chocolate companies recognize the potential of using natural, nutritious ingredients to replace sugar.
“Formulating for the growing sugar-free category usually means incorporating high-intensity sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit. Here, cocoa powder moderates the off-taste of these ingredients, creating a full flavor profile rather than just over-sweetening.
“Red alkalized cocoa powder provides a smoother, less bitter flavor and means you don’t need as much sweetener in your product. Another effective way to maintain the rich mouthfeel and flavor of your chocolate products is to incorporate fat-free or moderately alkalized cocoa powder, which helps reduce the sugar content in your recipes.Dr. JIX Antony, ofi’s vice president of innovation, told foodnavigator.