As more consumers strive to improve their wellness, sugar is quickly becoming viewed as the arch enemy of a healthy lifestyle. Natural Marketing Institute’s (NMI) 2017 Health & Wellness Trends in America© research showed consumers are significantly more likely to be monitoring food and beverage labels today compared to a decade ago. Further trended data from NMI showed sugar has now overtaken “calories" and “total fat" as the item consumers check most often on a food and beverage label. Additionally, close to six out of 10 consumers indicated they typically watch the sugar content in their diets.
Despite consumers’ concern for sugar intake and the publicized ramifications of too much sugar, the United States remains one of the largest importers of sugar and one of the largest consumers of sweeteners, according to USDA. Estimates show the average American consumes well over 100 pounds of sugar per year. A contributing factor to this is the amount of “added" sugar that is now present in foods and beverages. With the corresponding increase in negative health conditions, mainstream consumers are taking notice.
While the monitoring of sugar content is increasing among the population, so is the concern for artificial sweeteners. Although they offer low- or no-calorie alternatives to sugar, potential negative health ramifications are prompting consumers to search for and switch to more natural alternatives.
However, NMI research showed consumers are also increasingly likely to feel they should not have to give up taste in exchange for healthy food.
Learn more about the market for natural sugar alternatives as well as popular options in this category in INSIDER’s Sweeteners Digital Magazine.
Steve Williams ([email protected]) is vice president, strategic consulting at the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), a strategic consulting, market research, and business development firm specializing in the health, wellness, and sustainability marketplace.