As 4 out of 10 people in the US are now obese it is not surprising that there is a negative trend developing in consumers perception of sugar. A recently released Euromonitor Global Consumer Trends Survey revealed that 42% of consumers seek out food labels with limited or no added sugar. Gina Westbrook, Director of Strategy Briefings at Euromonitor International commented: ”Sugar is now seen as a health risk by most, and as toxic as tobacco by some,”. She continues ”Sugar has endured a tide of negative public opinion as the amount of scientific research linking the rise in sugar intake with obesity has increased, leading the government to become increasingly concerned about the rising cost of illnesses such as diabetes and cancer.”
Governments are indeed starting to slowly step in. Gina Westbrook comments that ”In February, Mexico introduced a ground breaking tax on sugar-sweetened beverages,”. However many more governments are stepping in. Denmark has already raised their existing tax on confectionery, ice cream and soft drinks 3 times since 2009. Norway implemented a tax on sugar and chocolate and many more countries are considering to step in including France and the United Kingdom.
The report further holds high hopes for stevia: ”In the face of the backlash both against sugar and artificial sweeteners, companies have been scrambling to develop naturally sweetened low-calorie formulations. The high intensity sweetener stevia has emerged as a clear winner since being approved for use in a number of markets.”