Posts Tagged ‘sugar consumption’

Sugar reduction tops reformulation agenda as UK sugar tax beckons

March 10th, 2018

In recent years, a trend for healthier lifestyles has emerged and consumers have become increasingly aware of the ingredients in their food and drinks. As EU sugar consumption figures reach nearly 32kg per person per year, sugar reduction has become the health trend under the spotlight. In fact, one month from today (April 6, 2018), the much-debated sugar tax will come into effect in the UK.

Public Health England and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have unveiled a new plan to help people cut excessive calories from their diets, as part of the government’s strategy to curb childhood and adult obesity. The health bodies are challenging the food industry to reduce calories in products consumed by families by 20 percent by 2024. You can read the full article about the plans on our sister website NutritionInsight today.
From April 6, 2018, a sugar tax will come into effect in the UK, with essentially two bands of products.
These are:
• A lower rate of 18 pence per liter for drinks with a total sugar content between 5-8g per 100ml.
• A higher rate of 24 pence per liter for drinks with total sugar more than 8g per 100ml.
Drinks with a sugar content lower than 5g per 100ml will not be subject to the levy.
The UK is not alone in taking this taxing route and Ireland will also introduce a similar scheme this April. Since 2010, various strategies have been employed around the world, with some success reported in Mexico, but other countries such as Denmark and Finland stopping it.
There is increasing pressure on manufacturers and brand owners from consumers and legislators to reduce the levels of sugar in all products, particularly soft drinks. However, while consumers want healthier foods with reduced sugar, they are unwilling to compromise on taste.
New consumer research from Kerry has indicated:
•    One in three European consumers are drinking less soft drinks than a year ago.
•    52 percent of consumers buy less soft drinks, because of their high sugar content.
•    60 percent of consumers are looking for more low-sugar drinks.
•    Not all consumers are satisfied with the existing offers, 30 percent associate “healthier drinks” with poorer taste.
While the beverage industry has responded to this demand by producing drinks with low and 0 percent sugar, research shows that 63 percent of consumers are worried about their health implications, with over half saying that they don’t like their taste.
Interestingly, a recent poll conducted in a live webinar hosted by FoodIngredientsFirst and presented by Kerry yesterday finds that 64 percent of the industry believes that reducing sugar in Sweet Confectionery & Bakery will be most challenging, despite ingredient innovation thriving in this area. This application area was followed by Beverages on 20 percent.
“The soft drinks market looks set for growth in 2018 and beyond, development and innovation will be driven by consumers’ changing flavor preferences, the trend to consume less alcohol and the introduction of a ‘sugar tax’ in many European markets,” John Kelly, Senior Marketing Manager, Beverage at Kerry Taste & Nutrition tells The World of Food Ingredients in an interview to appear in the March 2018 issue. “The introduction of the sugar tax across many European markets is having a significant effect on the soft drinks industry/ significant impact on soft – drink manufacturers. We have been working with customers over the past 18 months to accelerate the ‘better for you’ trend, which is dominating right now.”
Kelly stresses that sugar taxes are now a reality and the industry must respond by meeting consumer demand from both a price and a taste perspective while reducing sugar content. “Traditionally, high-intensity sweeteners have been used to reduce sugar, but many of these are now on consumer ‘no-no’ lists and have been red flagged by consumer advocates and bloggers. In addition to consumer perception, while returning perceived sweetness, they cannot deliver the lost functionality, taste and mouthfeel of sugar,” he notes. “This provides an opportunity for innovative food and beverage companies. How do we help our customers reduce sugar content, without sacrificing function or taste?”
“At Kerry, to address this issue, we have created a new product called TasteSense Sweet. The solution can not only reduce sugar content by up to 30 percent but can also build back the sweetness that is lost, when sugar is reduced, allowing consumers to enjoy the taste and mouthfeel that sugar delivers, without the negative labeling impact,” Kelly explains.

Further information about Kerry’s sugar reduction solutions can be found here.

Dean Francis, Chief Executive Officer of sweetener supplier Sweet Green Fields Co., Ltd. notes that everyone in the beverage business knows how the two trends of sugar reduction and clean label are changing the soft drink landscape. But not all people understand how the interactions between these two trends are impacting the industry.

“Direction from consumers and the legislative bodies make high level added sugars the top ‘public enemy.’ Non-nutritive sweeteners could be the cure for lowering the calories in soft drinks, but the sales of the two biggest diet cola have registered an over 5 percent decline in 2015. More and more consumers are putting artificial sweeteners in the list of ingredients to avoid. The top ten 2018 trends released by Innova Insights show, ‘Mindful choices’ and ‘Lighter enjoyment’ are playing a greater role in today’s soft drink space. No/low-cal, but naturally sweetened drinks will continue to be a rising category,” Francis says.

Sweet Green Fields partnering with Tate & Lyle offers a comprehensive range of stevia sweeteners that are extracted from the stevia leaf. Zero calorie and natural sourced makes stevia one of the most applied sweeteners in new beverage products launched globally because stevia addresses to both sugar reduction and clean label demands. SGF’s stevia products – Intesse and Optimizer Stevia – solve stevia’s intrinsic challenges: taste and cost. Respectively for high and medium sugar reduction, these two proprietary products lines deliver sweetness without bitterness or unpleasant aftertaste. The Optimizer Stevia portfolio reflects our commitment to lowering cost-in-use and helps clients save 20-30 percent of related costs when compared to regular high purity stevia sweetener RA97.

“The spreading sugar taxes and levies are a very strong force driving the global beverage manufacturers to reformulate their products with less added sugar. During the last two years, since UK tax proposals were published in March 2016, the sales of the market-leading soft drinks experienced more or less drops,” says Francis.
“We believe there will be more and deeper sugar reduction need when the sugar tax come into effect in April 2018. Beverage manufacturers have been working hard on identifying sugar alternatives that could help them formulate successful products with great taste and lower cost. Sweet Green Fields with Tate & Lyle have been proactively working with drink manufacturers on innovative stevia sweetening solutions, such as Intesse and Optimizer Stevia, in the efforts to transform the legislative pressure into a healthy positioning for the drinks,” he notes.
James Blunt, Senior Vice President and Interim General Manager, Stevia at Tate & Lyle says: “With the soft drinks levies being introduced in the UK, Ireland other European countries and the health and wellness trend continuing to affect purchasing decisions, sugar reduction in beverages will remain a key trend as we look into 2018 and beyond. Manufacturers will continue to manage their formulation challenges as they balance consumers’ demand for low sugar beverages that don’t compromise on taste.”
“Because high-potency sweeteners are significantly sweeter than sucrose, they are used at very low levels in formulations and only provide sweetness without the other functional attributes of sucrose. Manufacturers looking to effectively reduce sugar and calories in their formulations use other ingredients alongside the high-potency sweeteners to deliver the bulk and mouthfeel that sugar provides,” says Blunt.
“In beverages, for example, achieving the appropriate sweetness intensity and mouthfeel in low-/no-sugar beverages can be tricky. Ingredients like soluble fibers are also increasingly used to build back mouthfeel and body to a beverage, which is often missing from reduced sugar drinks. As a result, we’ve seen a growing interest among manufacturers seeking to incorporate fibers in drinks, both to reduce sugar but also respond to the trend for functional ingredients in beverages,” he concludes.
These three and many more interviews with suppliers regarding soft drinks trends and the effects of the sugar tax in the UK will appear in the March 2018 issue of The World of Food Ingredients.

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EFSA to give advice on the intake of sugar added to food

March 25th, 2017
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EFSA will provide scientific advice on the daily intake of added sugar in food by early 2020. The Authority aims to establish a science-based cut-off value for daily exposure to added sugars from all sources which is not associated with adverse health effects. The work will be carried out following a request from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.

Added sugars from all sources comprise sucrose, fructose, glucose, starch hydrolysates such as glucose syrup, high-fructose syrup, and other sugar preparations consumed as such or added during food preparation and manufacturing.

The adverse health effects under consideration will include body weight, glucose intolerance and insulin sensitivity, type-2-diabetes, cardiovascular risk factors, as well as dental caries. In its assessment, EFSA will look at the general healthy population, including children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.

The advice will guide Member States when establishing recommendations for the consumption of added sugars and in planning food-based dietary guidelines.

Sweden is coordinating the request to EFSA on behalf of the five Nordic countries. Annica Sohlström, the Director General of the Swedish National Food Agency, said: “We welcome EFSA’s acceptance of the mandate which reflects the need to scientifically evaluate the links between added sugar and health at a European level.”

What is going to happen next?

EFSA will establish an ad-hoc working group with expertise in dietary exposure, epidemiology, human nutrition, diet-related chronic diseases and dentistry. The five Nordic countries that initiated this mandate will be invited to the working group as observers.

EFSA will use its established methodology to develop a protocol on how to carry out the assessment. Known as Prometheus – PROmoting METHods for Evidence Use in Scientific assessments – the method shows how EFSA selects evidence, how this evidence contributes to the risk assessment and how EFSA reports on the entire process and it results.

In line with its commitment to openness and transparency, EFSA will engage with stakeholders throughout the assessment process. It will hold two public consultations, inviting feedback on the draft protocol in the first half of 2018 and on the draft opinion in late 2019, which will also involve a face-to-face meeting with stakeholders.


In 2010, EFSA published its Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for carbohydrates and dietary fibre, which also included sugar. At this time, the available evidence was insufficient to set an upper limit for the daily intake of total or added sugars. New scientific evidence has come to light since then. There has also been growing public interest in the impact of the consumption of sugar-containing foods and beverages on human health.

Source: EFSA


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American Heart Association weighs in on the issue of added sugars

August 27th, 2016
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The American Heart Association is recommending children between the ages of 2 and 18 should eat or drink less than 25 grams, or six teaspoons, of added sugars daily. The recommendation comes as the Food and Drug Administration is in the process of revamping the Nutrition Facts Panel to include the listing of added sugars.

Eating foods high in added sugars throughout childhood is linked to the development of such risk factors for heart disease as increased risk of obesity and elevated blood pressure in children and young adults, according to the A.H.A.

“Children who eat foods loaded with added sugars tend to eat fewer healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products that are good for their heart health,” said Miriam Vos, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at the Emory State University School of Medicine, Atlanta. “There has been a lack of clarity and consensus regarding how much added sugar is considered safe for children, so sugars remain a commonly added ingredient in foods and drinks, and overall consumption by children remains high: The typical American child consumes about triple the recommended amount of added sugars.”

The statement was written by a panel of experts who did a review of scientific research on the effect of added sugars on children’s health. The panel also recommended that added sugars should not be included in the diet of children under the age of 2 years. The calorie needs of children in the age group are lower than older children and adults, so there is little room for food and beverages containing added sugars that don’t provide them with good nutrition. In addition, taste preferences begin early in life, so limiting added sugars may help children develop a life-long preference for healthier foods.

Shortly after the A.H.A. published its recommendation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation came out in strong support of the idea.

“This guidance builds on several notable developments that demonstrate an encouraging national commitment to healthy eating,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., president and chief executive officer of the R.W.J.F. “Over the past several years, schools across the country have made significant strides in eliminating sugary beverages and foods from cafeterias and vending machines and replacing them with healthier options.

“Looking ahead, the updated Nutrition Facts Panel that will require food and beverage companies to clearly indicate the amount of added sugars on packaged items — along with national menu labeling rules covering chain restaurants and grocery stores — is poised to help parents and consumers make healthy choices. We urge industry leaders to build on these efforts by following this guidance closely as they develop, reformulate, and market foods and beverages intended for children.”

This past May, the F.D.A. published new rules for the redesign of the agency’s Nutrition Facts Panel. Starting in July 2018, food and beverage companies with sales greater than $10 million will be required to include the amount of added sugars as well as vitamin D and potassium to be in compliance with federal regulations.

Source: Baking Business


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Stevia Still at the Starting Gate in Sugar-Free Confectionery

March 21st, 2015
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Despite ongoing concerns about health and the reduction of sugar in the diet, sugar-free lines accounted for less than 7% of global confectionery launches in 2014, a similar penetration level to that in 2013.

With ongoing concerns about health and the reduction of sugar in the diet, the sugar-free confectionery market should be booming. This is particularly in the face of ongoing technical developments that have improved sensory properties, and the appearance of new sweeteners and other ingredients with a more natural image. Yet sugar-free lines accounted for less than 7% of global confectionery launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in 2014, which is a similar penetration level to that in 2013.

There are significant differences between product types, however, with sugar-free launches representing just 1% of chocolate confectionery introductions, rising to 7.5% in sugar confectionery and to over 63% in chewing gum. Even within the very diverse sugar confectionery market, penetration varies by type of product, with sugar-free launches focused particularly in the hard candy market, where they accounted for nearly one-fifth of introductions.

In combining calorie, particularly sugar, reduction with naturalness, the spreading regulatory approval for stevia sweeteners in markets such as the US, Australia and then the EU over the past five years has caused something of a revolution in sweetener use across a range of food and drinks markets, although this has had only limited effect in confectionery to date. Just over 1% of confectionery launches in 2014 featured stevia as an ingredient, which was a similar level to that in food and drinks as a whole, but behind the levels of use in soft drinks and tabletop sweeteners, for example.

“Formulation problems and the bitter after-taste of stevia are felt to have held back product activity in some instances,” according to Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, “but some sectors have found this less of an issue, particularly licorice sweets and medicated confectionery, and improved formulations are now being introduced to allow more products in other areas.”

The United States is leading activity levels in sugar-free confectionery with sugar-free lines accounting for 11% of total confectionery launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in 2014. Uptake of stevia is also more advanced, featuring in 2.6% of introductions, which although still relatively modest, is twice the global average.

A review of new product activity over the past few months reveals a wide range of US introductions featuring stevia, including additions to the Coco Polo and Chocorite chocolate bar ranges, SteviDent’s Stevita chewing gum, Ricola Liquorice Pearls, Rap Protein Gummis and Sencha Naturals Green Tea Mints.

A major step forward in Europe in 2014 was the introduction of the first European confectionery lines from chewing gum market leader Wrigley to feature stevia, with its introduction of Extra Professional Mints in Forest Fruits and Classic Mint variants. Initially launched in Germany, the mints are slated for launch in 20 European markets. Wrigley has used stevia in chewing gum in Japan, where it has been permitted for many years, but this marked its first multi-country introduction of a stevia-sweetened product.

Fears over the health impact of sugar consumption and concerns over the safety of some artificial sweeteners should give a major boost to plant-based “natural” sweeteners, and the development of new sweetener systems is already offering solutions to improving taste profiles.

“The confectionery industry has been perhaps slower to take on stevia sweeteners than originally forecast,” Williams concludes, “and it remains to be seen how take-up will develop over the next few years.”



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Do Mexico’s new food labelling rules encourage sugar consumption ?

May 1st, 2014
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sugarMexico’s new food labeling rules were supposed to help fight an obesity epidemic, but activists and experts said Monday they may actually encourage the public to consume high levels of sugar.

The debate over sugar has grown bitter, in a country with one of the highest obesity rates in the Western Hemisphere.

The new label rules unveiled last week list the amount of sugar and other contents as a per cent of recommended daily intakes. The new labels will no longer list the weights of the ingredients, instead simply listing them as calories and percentages of recommended daily intake.

But the labels assume that an average acceptable daily consumption of sugar is about 360 calories, equivalent to about 90 grams of sugar.

The World Health Organization has proposed a sugar intake of as little as 100 calories or about 25 grams per day.

Almost three dozen public health and nutrition experts published a full-page ad in Mexican newspapers Monday saying the new rules “increase the risk of obesity and diabetes.”

It said the labeling system “is difficult to understand and represents a serious risk to the health of Mexicans,” according to the ad.

The government health agency responsible for publishing the new rules last week did not immediately answer calls for comment.

“This is terrible, because some people are going to see this label … and they’re going to say, ‘well, I’ll drink this Coca Cola, because it is 70 per cent of my sugar requirement, and I can drink another 6 1/2-ounce one, to get 100 per cent of what they recommend I get of sugar,”‘ said Alejandro Calvillo, head of the Consumer Power activist group.

Calvillo said the decision to stop listing the weight of sugar in products was a mistake, in part because his group had some success in educating the public that 90 grams of sugar are equal to about 6 tablespoons — about two-thirds of a cup.

Mexico is among the fattest countries in the world. Just under one-third of adults are obese, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. Seven out of 10 Mexicans are overweight and the country has surpassed the U.S. in obesity rates, according to a United Nations report, mostly due to a diet of fatty foods and sugary sodas.

Last year, Mexico’s lawmakers approved a new tax on junk food as part of the government’s campaign to fight obesity. The move came a little over a day after legislators agreed to tax soft drinks. Mexicans drink an average of 163 litres of soft drinks annually, also among the highest soda consumption rates in the world.

Source: CTV News

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Cutting the GRAS List: Sugar and Salt

February 15th, 2013
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fda-logoCalls for revoking Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status on common ingredients seems to be the new norm for controlling excess consumption. In 2011, the American Public Health Association asked the FDA to “remove or modify” salt’s GRAS status  because allows unlimited sodium in foods. Now the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is trying the same tactic to limit the amount of added sugars in beverages.

In a press release, the CSPI names high fructose corn syrup, sucrose  and “other sugars” as being unsafe at the levels consumed. It claims that “ to be GRAS, there must be a scientific consensus that the ingredient is safe at the levels consumed.”

CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson said in the release. “As currently formulated, Coke, Pepsi, and other sugar-based drinks are unsafe for regular human consumption. Like a slow-acting but ruthlessly efficient bioweapon, sugar drinks cause obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The FDA should require the beverage industry to re-engineer their sugary products over several years, making them safer for people to consume, and less conducive to disease.”

In addition to the overwrought description of sugar-sweetened drinks, the definition of GRAS is off the mark. According to the FDA, “”GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use (my emphasis), or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excluded from the definition of a food additive.”

From what I can tell, the intended use of sugar in sweetened drinks is the amount in an 8-oz serving. So, CSPI’s benchmark of 16 tsp. of sugar in a 20 oz. drink might be considered a worst-case scenario. After all if it’s a 20 oz. fountain drink, it’s probably packed with sugar-free ice, and I suspect given the preponderance of 12-oz. cans, that’s a more common serving size. But that’s less that 10 tsp. per serving, not nearly as dramatic. (Which I have to admit sounds disgustingly sweet, but I’m not a big fan of anything that sweet, including soda.)

Regardless, the concept of taking specific food ingredients off the GRAS list because of overconsumption in a specific product is a disaster in the making. Do we limit it to sucrose and HFCS? What about dextrose, honey or agave syrup? Does that make the sugar in a chocolate bar or the sugar in ice cream somehow better for you? And how does that address weight issues from someone who is eating too many cookies or too many fried salty snacks (guilty)? Does vegetable oil come off the GRAS list too? What about bacon?

I’m not saying I have the answer. (It might be interesting to cut sugar levels by a couple percent and see who notices, but that’s not going to solve the problem.) The collective we should not be taking in so many excess calories to the detriment of our health. But altering the definition of GRAS for safe ingredients just because we stuff ourselves silly is just a bad idea.

Source: Food Product Design


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