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Trending topic: low sugar products are increasingly popular

Goodbye sugar

More people are reducing their sugar intake. Low sugar diet has turned into a major hype on the internet. Many websites offer tips on how to give up sweets or fizzy drinks completely. Supermarkets and food manufacturers have long been aware of this trend and now offer variations of products containing reduced sugar.

Sugar has an image problem. There is now a growing realisation among consumers that regular consumption of sugar in larger quantities can be detrimental to health. More people are moderating their consumption of cakes, biscuits or sweet drinks. This trend appears to be stronger on the internet, where eliminating sugar altogether is being preached. The result is a series of competitions such as "Anti Sugar Challenge 2018" or "Sugar – 40 Day Challenge", which have found greater resonance on the social media. People interested in this topic will find plenty of suggestions for sugar-free meals or sugar fast under the hashtags #sugarfree and #nosugar.

Rewe surveys consumers on sugar content

This means that there is an increasing number of consumers who want less sugar in their food. This not only applies to sweets, but also to products which the consumers would not suspect as containing sugar. You can hardly find any foodstuff that does not contain sugar in the supermarkets. The ingredient can be found even in bread, meat products, dairy products and almost all ready meals. Coleslaw or salad dressings often contain high quantities of sugar.

However, supermarkets and food manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the changing attitudes of consumers and are adapting their products accordingly. For instance, the German supermarket Rewe surveyed its customers as to how much sugar they think should Rewe's own-label chocolate pudding contain. Around 100,000 testers tried the original recipe as well as variations with 20%, 30%, and 40% reduced sugar content. The result: the pudding with 30 percent less sugar came out on top. Almost every second tester found that they liked it best. Customers were able to vote online over a period of four weeks. The supermarket chain took the results seriously. The pudding with the most votes has been on Rewe's shelves since mid-May.

The positive response prompted the supermarket giant to continue on this strategic course. It wants to reduce the sugar content in its own-label products over the coming year. This includes ice cream, dairy products, breakfast cereals and non-alcoholic soft drinks.

Supermarkets reduces sugar content in own-label products

In a race to attract health-conscious customers, supermarkets have long since recognised the market potential of low-sugar products and have positioned themselves accordingly. For example, Aldi Nord has also reduced the sugar content in own-label breakfast cereals, dairy products, and fruit juice. The same can be said for Kaufland. They started reducing sugar in their cereals and yoghurt as early as 2015. Meanwhile, Germany's largest supermarket group Edeka has reduced a significant portion of sugar in its own-label products. Their pasta sauces and breakfast muesli are as low in sugar as their delicatessen salads or fruit yoghurt. At the beginning of 2017, Lidl even made a public commitment to reduce the salt and sugar content in its own-label products by around 20 percent.

However, we will not experience a radical shift away from sugar. After all, consumers have to gradually get used to the low sugar products. Additionally, the usefulness of cutting off sugar completely continues to be disputed. The old maxim, there is no good or bad food, only wrong ways to consume them, often holds true.

Headerimage: adrian_ilie825 | stock.adobe.com

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