In today’s health-conscious world, the food industry is witnessing a paradigm shift. Consumers are increasingly seeking healthier alternatives and demanding transparency when it comes to the ingredients in their food. This shift has compelled manufacturers to explore innovative ways to reduce sugar content without compromising taste.
At the same time, rising cost of sugar has put manufacturers under significant pressure. Fluctuations in sugar prices due to weather conditions, geopolitical factors, and supply chain disruptions have led to unpredictable production costs. In an effort to stabilize expenses, manufacturers are turning to alternatives that provide sweetness without relying solely on expensive sugar sources. According to financial researchers at Ycharts, sugar prices have spiked globally by approximately 40% from 2022 to 2023.
Governments worldwide have also recognised the adverse effects of excessive sugar consumption on public health. To curb the rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and other diet- related illnesses, several countries in Asia Pacific have implemented or considered sugar taxation laws. These regulations place a financial burden on manufacturers who opt for sugar- rich formulations. For instance, The Philippines recently announced their plans to tax junk food and further increase levies on sweetened beverages. Not only does this come on top of the current tax law of 12 pesos per litre, it also presents a significant shift in the focus to other food categories for manufacturers to be mindful about.
As a result, reformulating products to reduce sugar content has become a more economically viable and socially responsible choice. Manufacturers in a price-sensitive market have turned to artificial sweeteners in the past to circumvent this. Yet, with recent headlines, this route has proven to come with its own set of challenges.
The “Dark Side” of Artificial Sweeteners
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organisation (WHO), recently reclassified Aspartame as a ‘possible’ carcinogen. When the news broke out, search results for the term ‘aspartame carcinogen’ spiked on Google along with well-known products like ‘Coca Cola Zero Sugar’ as concerned netizens worried for possible implications on their health.
To add on to the bad press, WHO also issued a warning against using all types of artificial sweeteners to curb weight loss stating potential risks of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. This has caused consumers to wonder about the trade-offs they are making in replacement of sugar and to carefully scrutinize labels.
Entering the Era of Natural Flavors
Despite the negative news, manufacturers can take comfort in the advancements made by ingredient companies in recent years with sugar reduction in flavors. With extensive research and development, flavor experts have created an array of innovative solutions that can enhance flavor, replicate sweetness, and provide an indulgent experience even in low-sugar formulations.
Leading flavor companies like Sensient Technologies harness the power of natural flavors as effective tools for reducing sugar content while maintaining sweetness. Their flagship product SweetEase is an example of a cutting-edge flavor solution that enhances the perceived taste and mouthfeel of sugar. Such advancements make it easier for manufacturers who want to meet the stringent requirements of taste, safety, and consumer acceptance.
By working closely with flavor companies, manufacturers can create tailored flavor profiles that align with their brand identity and specific product requirements. By understanding the unique characteristics of each product, flavor experts can develop a well- rounded taste profile that aligns with a brand’s needs while minimising sugar content. This ensures that manufacturers can deliver products that cater to diverse consumer preferences without compromising on quality.
The movement towards low-sugar formulations represents an exciting chapter in the food industry’s evolution. With the rising price of sugar, the introduction of taxation laws, and growing health concerns among consumers, manufacturers have been compelled to rethink their product offerings. This presents an opening for meaningful collaborations in a new way forward. Reach out to Sensient Technologies Asia Pacific at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our unique approach to sugar reduction and for a customised solution that suits your needs.