Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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C onventional sugar's reputation is suffering. According to Mintel's "Sugars and Sweeteners Report, December 2016," dollar sales of sugar and sweeteners fell five percent from 2011 to 2016 and settled at an estimated $4.3 billion in 2016. Sales of sugar, sugar substitutes, and syrup also continued to decline, unable to disassociate from sugar's negative stigmatization and the concerns over the safety and flavor of artificial sweeteners. (Thirty-five percent of consumers surveyed by Mintel believe that artificial sweeteners are bad for their health, and that something derived from nature is more appealing.) With ties to obesity, chronic inf lammation, diabetes, and a no-no in increasingly popular diets worldwide, sugar has health- focused consumers rushing to satisfy their sweet tooth with plant-based options and alternatives that offer cleaner labels, good tastes, reduced calories, and in some cases, added nutritional benefits. Simultaneously, producers are rethinking and revamping product formulations. "With more consumers familiar with the glycemic index and choosing products that are lower on that scale, producers are feel- ing the pressure to include more natural sweeteners in their recipes, scrambling to find alternatives, bragging when they do, and even touting attributes before taste," notes Amelia Rappaport, grocery team leader, Woodstock Farmers' Market, Woodstock, Vt., who says she's seen the most sweetener overhauls in categories such as beverages, barbecue sauces, and desserts. Mintel reports that 84 percent of U.S. adults are limiting the amount of sugar in their diets, with a third of consumers limiting sugar intake more than they were a year ago. Thirty-five percent want food and drink companies to do more to reduce the amount of sugar in products, while 34 percent say these companies should make it easier to understand how much sugar is in their products. Consumers are also reevaluating at retail, prioritizing purchas- es, and taking a closer look at food and drink packaging. According to Mintel's report, 80 percent are checking labels for the amount of sugar and/or sweetener used and 79 percent are checking labels for the types of sugar and/or sweetener used. Twenty-six percent would like to see more food/drinks using naturally sourced sugar substitutes, but only a small portion (16 per- cent) is willing to pay more for these items. (iGens and millennials are more likely than older consumers to want to see natural options category spotlight Bhakti Chai; Chocolate Zero Keto Bark. 66 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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