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SUGAR

Consumer shift from sugar consumption driving changes in F&B industry
Saturday, 19 August, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
New York
The consumers’ shift away from sugar consumption is an important driver behind significant changes in the food and beverage industry. These changes will have long-term ramifications, including a likely slowdown in the worldwide sugar market. This was stated in Sweetness and Lite, Rabobank’s latest report.

A combination of changing preferences, product reformulations and government pressure have caused structural changes in the way sugar is perceived and consumed worldwide.

“The consumer shift away from sugar has become a global trend,” said Nick Fereday, senior analyst, Rabobank, and co-author of the report.

“This is a big deal for the sugar industry and can neither be dismissed as a passing fad nor wished away,” he added.

Fereday and his co-author Andy Duff, global strategist, Rabobank, do not intend to act as the judges and jury on sugar and related sweeteners in the report.

However, they have identified the primary reasons why consumers are moving away from sugar.

These include the following:
  • More consumers are adopting low-sugar diets instead of ones that focus just on fats, because they see sugar and refined carbohydrates as the main culprits in obesity, and
  • There has been an increase in legislations penalising sugar-laden beverages, such as the levying of a tax on sugary soft drinks in countries such as Chile, Egypt, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand and in major metropolitan areas in the United States
Companies in the food industry are responding, for instance, by including overhauling ingredients, decreasing portion sizes and diversifying their corporate portfolios.

It has been estimated that if initiatives by companies and governments were to achieve a significant (five per cent or above) reduction in global food and beverage sector sugar use over a two- to three-year implementation period, it would offset much of the expected global growth in consumption during this period.

In addition, the outlook for industrial sugar use depends heavily on consumption trends in emerging markets.

“The rate of growth of global sugar consumption in the coming 15 years is likely to be lower than the growth rate seen in the last 15 years,” Duff said.
 
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