The time for sugar reduction is now

Why should sugar reduction be high on the agenda of food and beverage producers? In this column, we examine three concrete factors that affect the market for sugar-reduced foods and beverages.

8 October 2020 •

Future leg­is­la­tion and pres­sure from com­peti­tors cre­ate incen­tives to put sug­ar reduc­tion high on the agen­da. But not just any sug­ar reduc­tion. It must be of nat­ur­al ori­gin. In recent years, the devel­op­ment and inno­va­tion of ingre­di­ents of nat­ur­al ori­gin have cre­at­ed com­pet­i­tive solutions.

Pressure from legislation and new market standards

Pressure can come from dif­fer­ent sources. It could be new manda­to­ry leg­is­la­tion or com­peti­tors mov­ing posi­tions for­ward and cre­at­ing new mar­ket standards.

Since 2016, the fol­low­ing coun­tries: Chile, Israel, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay have made it manda­to­ry to put a warn­ing labelling on foods that con­tain high lev­els of unhealthy ingre­di­ents. Whether we will see sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion in the EU remains to be seen. Instead of warn­ing text on unhealthy prod­ucts, per­haps sug­ar-reduced prod­ucts will have a pos­i­tive-sound­ing label, to help con­sumers pick them instead.

Much like the Swedish brand Felix, which recent­ly launched a new type of labelling that will make it eas­i­er for con­sumers to make cli­mate-smart and con­scious choic­es. Products with the least cli­mate impact are reward­ed and giv­en a high­ly vis­i­ble label.

The com­par­i­son is some­what lame, Felix’s action isn’t sprung from new leg­is­la­tion, it is about cli­mate impact and not nec­es­sar­i­ly about unhealthy ingre­di­ents. But the motive is the same; to help con­sumers make informed choices.


A race to the top

Another form of pres­sure that often comes up is sug­ar tax. The issue of sug­ar tax­es is a water­shed among politi­cians and experts in the health­care and food and bev­er­age indus­try. Some believe that it can lead to the con­sump­tion of oth­er junk and oth­ers believe that it has a great sym­bol­ic val­ue and is impor­tant for that rea­son. Regardless of what one thinks in the actu­al issue, a sug­ar tax is some­thing that has the poten­tial to change the mar­ket for sug­ar-sweet products.

And whether it’s sug­ar tax, warn­ing texts, labels or some­thing else, these pres­sures can grow and lead to an intense race where every­one wants to be num­ber one at sug­ar reduc­tion overnight. In much the same way as now hap­pen­ing with elec­tri­fi­ca­tion in the auto­mo­tive indus­try. One way to get around this is to sim­ply take the bull by the horns by gath­er­ing knowl­edge, inves­ti­gat­ing rel­e­vant options and get­ting start­ed with high-qual­i­ty sug­ar reduction.

Reducing sug­ar is impor­tant but just as impor­tant is what replaces sug­ar; it is about reduc­ing sug­ar the right way.

But what does that mean?

Conscious consumers

The food and bev­er­age indus­try is under­go­ing some­what of a rev­o­lu­tion as con­sumer pref­er­ences change and new inno­v­a­tive ingre­di­ents and solu­tions reach the mar­ket. Things that recent­ly seemed unlike­ly are now a real­i­ty; Buying milk made from oats or veg­e­tar­i­an steaks doesn’t raise an eye­brow. Behind the scenes, among oth­er things, are pro­tein pow­der from insects and bev­er­ages with microal­gae wait­ing to be tomorrow’s great success.

The same pace of inno­va­tion can be seen in the field of sug­ar reduc­tion. Artificial sweet­en­ers have a bad rep­u­ta­tion, instead, con­sumers demand healthy ingre­di­ents of nat­ur­al ori­gin. They are wel­come to con­tribute with func­tion, for exam­ple, increased con­tent of fibre or pro­tein. This has accel­er­at­ed the pace of inno­va­tion. The over­all healthy trend that has been going on for a while has now been revived in due to the pandemic.

So, what are these ingre­di­ents? Let’s start off with ste­via.

Sugar reduction of natural origin

Almost ten years ago, ste­via was launched as a sweet­en­er of nat­ur­al ori­gin. But it is real­ly the sweet ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides that are extract­ed from the plant ste­via that we have to thank. At first, only the ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides ste­vio­side could be extract­ed. It was cer­tain­ly sweet but also had a strong and bit­ter after­taste. The boost came with Rebaudioside A (Reb A) which had a bet­ter taste pro­file and still is a big sell­er among ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides. Recently, improve­ments in extract­ing the real­ly rare ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides with the great­est sweet­ness have been made – such as Rebaudioside M (Reb M).

Stenstaty föreställande en asiatisk munk

Thaumatin and monk fruit

Other inter­est­ing sweet­en­ers of nat­ur­al ori­gin are thau­matin and monk fruit. Thaumatin is cur­rent­ly approved as a sweet­en­er and flavour enhancer and monk fruit is soon expect­ed to become an approved ingre­di­ent in the EU.

But ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides, as well as thau­matin and monk fruit, are high-inten­si­ty sweet­en­ers. In a com­plete sug­ar reduc­tion, you usu­al­ly have to replace the oth­er prop­er­ties of the sug­ar, for exam­ple, the bulk.

One ingre­di­ent that is grow­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty is var­i­ous forms of dietary fibres. In addi­tion to being good for the stom­ach, fibres are also excel­lent ingre­di­ents in sug­ar reduc­tion. Fibres cre­ate bulk and some vari­eties also come with some sweetness.


Let’s sum­ma­rize the var­i­ous insights:

  • Pressure from leg­is­la­tion and com­peti­tors cre­ates incen­tives for food pro­duc­ers to put sug­ar reduc­tion high on the agenda.
  • Consumers love sweet­ness but want to get rid of the neg­a­tive aspects of sug­ar. They are also becom­ing more health-con­scious and increas­ing­ly inter­est­ed in ingre­di­ents of nat­ur­al origin.
  • The solu­tion for food pro­duc­ers is to invest in the devel­op­ment and inno­va­tion of new solu­tions with nat­ur­al ori­gins but which also offer sweet­ness, taste and mouthfeel.

A complete solution

Developing a com­plete solu­tion for sug­ar reduc­tion on your own is dif­fi­cult and comes with a hefty price. It requires skills that are not always avail­able inter­nal­ly at food producers.

Bayn has devel­oped a solu­tion that is based on nat­ur­al ori­gin, which doesn’t com­pro­mise on taste and mouthfeel.

We call it sweet­ened fibres. It is a 1: 1 solu­tion con­sist­ing of var­i­ous forms of fibres, sug­ar alco­hols and ste­vi­ol gly­co­sides. Sweetened fibres come in dif­fer­ent vari­eties for dif­fer­ent types of foods.

Contact us

Are you curi­ous about sweet­ened fibres? Take a look at our range of ser­vices or con­tact us if you want to know more about how we can help you reduce sug­ar in a prop­er way.

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