FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 4, 2015
CONTACT: Phillip Hayes, 202-271-5734 (cell)
From the International Sweetener Symposium:
SANTA ANA PUEBLO, N.M.—Consumers are being overwhelmed with information about the food they purchase and eat every day – with sugar in the middle – and it’s fueling confusion and changing the way different generations shop. That’s according to a panel of consumer and scientific experts today at the 32nd International Sweetener Symposium.
Sugar, and sugars, are among the most discussed food ingredients and are at the center of proposals from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other regulatory bodies around the world.
“The landscape for sugar is challenging for both the industry and consumers who are being inundated with information which can be confusing,” said Dr. Courtney Gaine, vice president of scientific affairs, the Sugar Association. “What’s concerning is that the U.S. dietary policies for sugar that are on the table right now are not evidence-based, but rather are emotions-based.”
This information is affecting consumers’ buying decisions and having food manufacturers look at their products, according to Matt Wilson, manager of global consumer insights, General Mills.
“We’re witnessing a wellness trend in food that’s dominating the consumer conversation, with an awareness and concern over sugar consumption growing. At the same time, while there’s an increasing interest in natural sweeteners that overlaps with this wellness trend, indulgence is not declining.”
Wellness trends along with other variables are also dividing the way consumers shop, presenting retailers and Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturers with challenges to meet evolving needs.
“For the first time we have four generations shopping and each generation has unique attitudes and behaviors,” said Cheryl Maduzia, vice president, Acosta. “Millennials are more likely to shop in channels other than supermarkets – they’re looking for a different experience – while older shoppers are more likely to shop in a traditional supermarket. These trend shifts are game changers for the industry, presenting retailers and manufacturers alike with challenges and opportunities to best meet the needs of generational shoppers.”
Dr. Gaine highlighted the FDA’s recent proposal to set a daily value for “added sugars,” noting that not only is it lacking scientific justification and doesn’t meet the FDA’s own scientific standards, but most concerning was the secretive manner in which it was rolled out.