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Euro consumers more interested in low sugar products

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sweet to sour: interest in sugary products is waning in favour of sour flavours
Sweet to sour: interest in sugary products is waning in favour of sour flavours

Related tags: Sugar

European consumers’ appetite for sugary foods is waning in favour of low-sugar products, according to new Mintel research revealed at the Food Ingredients Europe show in Paris.

Most consumers in key European markets are cutting their consumption of sugar, with two-thirds of UK consumers agreeing a healthy diet should be low in sugar.

More than half of French and German consumers admitted to reducing or avoiding sugary foods, while more than two-thirds of Italians thought the same way. See who is leading the list of Euro sugar refusniks below.

The new research highlights the gap in the market for new product launches carrying a low, no or reduced sugar claim, said Mintel. But the proportion of product launches carrying this claim had hovered at about 5% of all European food and drink product launches over the past five years, said the research group’s food and drink research manager Chris Brockman.

Low, no or reduced sugar claim

Only 3% of food and drink products launched in Italy in the first 10 months of this year featured a low, no or reduced sugar claim. In Spain the figure was 5% and 4% in Poland, France and Germany have carried the low, no or reduced sugar claim.

But the UK has seen a surge in low, no or reduced sugar product launches. So far this year about 7% of UK food and drink launches held a low, no or reduced sugar claim, up from 4% in 2012.                              

“Excessive sugar consumption continues to be criticised by the media and health professionals alike, resulting in today’s sugar backlash,”​ said Brockman at FiE Europe yesterday (November 30)

Low sugar opportunities

“There is, therefore, a key opportunity for brands to address consumer fears and adapt their products to carry a low, no or reduced sugar claim.”  

  • Chris Brockman, Mintel   

“This has led to sugar replacing fat and salt as the new dietary pariah across Europe. There is therefore a key opportunity for brands to address consumer fears and adapt their products to carry a low, no or reduced sugar claim.”                              

Up to two thirds of Polish consumers thought there aren't enough healthy sweets available, for example sugar-free varieties. In Spain and France the figure was 60%.

Half of UK consumers

Half of UK consumers who drink fewer carbonated soft drinks (CSDs) do so because they contain too much sugar, and 33% of German consumers prefer CSDs which are not so sweet in taste.                          

“The spotlight is fixed on high levels of added sugar in processed foods, and the push to reduce sugar across categories is ramping up,”​ said Brockman. “Whilst traditionally there have been negative connotations linked to low, no or reduced products, today brands adopting this claim with regards to sugar should adopt more positive messaging, for instance by highlighting the products’ goodness, to appeal to consumer demand.”

Finally, cutting sugar has sparked a taste for more sour flavours, with 43% of Polish consumers, 30% of French and 23% of German shoppers expressing an interest in sweets with extreme flavours, such as sour. 

“As cloyingly sweet flavours fall out of favour, sour flavours are emerging across categories as the antithesis of sweet,”​ said Brockman. “With today’s consumer on high alert about their sugar consumption, interest in sour flavours is expanding across categories.”

The Food Ingredients Europe event takes place between December 1–3 in Paris.

 

Consumers reducing or avoiding sugary foods

  • French – 59%
  • German – 51%
  • Italians – 64%
  • Spanish – 63%
  • Polish – 61%

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