16th March 2022
Sugar & Sweeteners: Attitudes and Awareness in 2022
Sugar has been seen as the number one dietary evil over the past couple of years, with a number of consumers looking to reduce their intake. The pandemic has left consumers more conscious about their health more than ever before. This has led to consumers taking a more proactive approach to health and wellness shifting their dietary habits to reduce vulnerability to any potential long-term health problems. So, what does this mean for sugar, and what opportunities does this create for the consumption of sweeteners.
Attitudes Towards Sugar
FMCG Gurus consumer insights show that in the last two years 56% of global consumers state that their attitudes have changed towards sugar. This means that at least hypothetically, the war on sugar will only intensify over the next few years. One of the main reasons why consumers do not have favorable perceptions of sugar is that consumers believe it is a cause of obesity. Given that many consumers feel that they have gained weight over the last few years because of increased levels of comfort eating, it implies more people will be dedicated to reducing sugar intake.
Although consumers want to reduce sugar intake, over four in ten consumers still believe that sugar intake is important as part of an overall balanced diet. The types of sugars that consumers are most likely to deem essential for a daily diet are natural sugars that are found in unprocessed food. These consumers also associate sugar with offering a number of benefits such as giving an energy boost, improving moods, and improving alertness and focus.
Attitudes Towards Natural Sweeteners
Across the globe 50% of consumers deem natural sweeteners to be healthy. This means that even if they are unable to identify individual sweeteners, collectively, they deem these ingredients to be a better-for-you alternative. Although consumers associate natural sweeteners with being better-for-you, the reality is only one in four consumers make active attempts to seek out products that contain such ingredients. This means that many people are not motivated by natural sweetener claims on packaging.
Consumers also have sensory appeal concerns when it comes to natural sweeteners. FMCG gurus Insights show that 57% of consumers who do not seek out natural sweeteners do not do so because they lack taste. This shows that consumers can be conscious about the sensory appeal of products with reduced sugar content and can be conscious of natural sweeteners being associated with having an unpleasant aftertaste. Irrespective of concerns that consumers have about health, it shows that they are unwilling to compromise on sensory appeal.
When targeting the health-conscious consumer, it is important that brands still offer high sensory appeal. At a time when consumers are looking to adopt a healthier diet, this should mean that people are actively seeking out natural sweeteners. However, this is not the case. The sensory appeal of natural sweeteners must be addressed by the industry, with a focus positioned on continuing to improve the taste of such ingredients so that they are deemed guilt-free and compromise-free.