The ongoing war on sugar has shaped consumer attitude towards sugar and what excessive sugar in take is associated with. As more consumers have become conscious about their health and wellbeing in the lastcouple of years this is something that has amplified. As many consumers view sugar as a cause of obesityand link excessive consumption with health problems, sugar intake is something that people are looking toreduce.

Why turn to sweeteners?

 FMCG Gurus consumer insights foundthat 66% of global consumers seek outproducts containing sweeteners as anattempt to avoid or moderate sugarintake. With a greater focus on improving

diet and lifestyle to aid healthy ageing,more consumers are making efforts toreduce the amount of sugar in their diet.Additionally, plant-based sweetenerswith free-from claims can appeal to

health-conscious consumers lookingfor better-for-you options in their diets.This, alongside organic and sustainabilityclaims, can help products containingsweeteners instead of sugar be seen byconsumers as a guilt-free alternative.

 However, it is interesting to note thatFMCG Gurus consumer insights foundthat 50% of consumers deem naturalsweeteners to be healthy, but only onein four consumers are making active

attempts to seek out products thatcontain them. This suggests that thereis not enough motivation alone fromnatural sweetener claims on packagingand this is something that brands need to address.

Barriers for the sweetener market 

One of the main barriers for thesweetener market is a lack of education.

Many consumers are simply noteducated enough about the differenttypes of sweeteners on offer. Only27% of global consumers regularlyconduct research into different types ofnatural sweeteners. This highlights thatconsumers will seek out products whereinformation is clearly available on thepackaging about the sweetener content.The industry should address this andlook for ways to encourage consumersto research and educate themselves onnatural sweeteners. This can help avoidconfusion where consumers might labela sweetener as artificial if they believethe ingredient sounds chemical, even ifthis is not the case.

 Another issue to address is cost.FMCG Gurus consumer insights foundthat only 29% of consumers werewilling to pay a premium for food anddrink containing natural sweeteners.In a time of reduced financialconfidence with living costs on therise, consumers are looking to cut they

amount they spend on food and drink.Consumers can associate betterfor-you products with a higher pricepoint and may avoid products withsweeteners due to this preconception.

This also demonstrates that naturalsweetener claims alone are notenough to influence consumers to paya premium price. Again, brands shouldencourage consumers to understand

about individual sweeteners ratherthan natural sweeteners as a collective.This can help them make informeddecisions about the products theyconsume and the sustainability,heath and quality benefits of theseingredients.

 Most importantly, the biggestbarrier that sweetener brandsneed to overcome is the sensory

appeal of sweeteners. Globally, 57%of consumers state that naturalsweeteners lack in taste and 36% statethat they regularly experience a bittertaste when eating or drinking products

that contain natural sweeteners. Thisis something that the sweetenermarket has been faced with for along time. Consumers will want toseek out products that are guilt-freeand healthier, but will not want tocompromise on taste. The industryshould continue to innovate and workon improving the taste of ingredientsso consumers are more likely to turnto products containing sweeteners.