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Attitudes towards Sugar & Sweeteners - UK - January 2017

“Facing increased pressure from multiple sides to cut sugar, both retailers and food and drink manufacturers will need to demonstrate their commitment to improving public health. While the widespread suspicions of artificial sweeteners present a significant challenge, consumers’ openness to alternative sugar substitutes and to less sweet-tasting products also gives scope for companies to explore a wide range of options to achieve the desired sugar reductions.”
– Alice Baker, Research Analyst

This Report discusses the following key topics:

  • Consumers’ amenability to less sweet tastes allows manufacturers options to cut sugar without replacing
  • Explaining sweeteners could help to overcome concerns over reformulations
  • Consumer openness to a range of sugar alternatives gives companies scope to experiment

This Report focuses on sugar and sweeteners in all types of food and non-alcoholic drink that consumers buy, in terms of consumer attitudes and NPD (New product development).

The market size refers to the retail sales of “table-top” sugar and sweeteners which are bought as sweetening ingredients, for example for use in baking or adding to food/drink.

Sweeteners are defined by the EU as ‘substances used to impart a sweet taste to foods or in table-top sweeteners’, and can broadly be split into two types: artificial sweeteners and naturally derived sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes which are made from chemically manufactured molecules, ie those which do not exist in nature. Examples include acesulfame K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin and sucralose.

Naturally derived sweeteners include any sweeteners which come from natural sources. Examples of zero-calorie naturally derived sweeteners include stevia (made from leaves of the stevia rebaudiana plant) and xylitol (made from birch).

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Decline in sugar brings down entire market over 2011-16
              • Inflation to affect the market over 2016-21
                • Sugar decline to slow, sweeteners to remain static
                    • Figure 1: UK retail value sales of sugar, sweeteners and honey, 2011-21
                  • Government pressure on industry to cut sugar
                    • Multiple health organisations advise sugar cutbacks
                      • New advertising rules ban promotion of sugary products to children
                        • Companies and brands
                          • Silver Spoon regains position as sugar market leader
                            • Figure 2: Leading brands’ share of the UK retail sugar market, by value, 2015/16*
                          • Own-label grows sales in weak sweeteners market
                            • Modest growth in low/no/reduced sugar launches
                              • Stronger activity in drinks
                                • Artificial sweeteners remain the principal sugar substitute, but use of stevia and honey is growing
                                  • Nestlé announces chocolate breakthrough
                                    • Brands look to associate no-sugar products with enjoyment
                                      • The consumer
                                        • Renewed focus on sugar heightens people’s health concerns
                                          • Concerns about artificial sweeteners also rise
                                            • Figure 3: Concern about selected ingredients in food and non-alcoholic drink, October 2016
                                          • Ageing population has implications for all sugar-containing products
                                            • Majority of people check product nutritional details in some way
                                              • Figure 4: Sugar-related behaviours, October 2016
                                            • Reduced sugar soft drinks widely accepted, and opportunities for NPD in breakfast cereals and yogurt
                                              • Portion control focus could be best approach for sweet treat makers
                                                • Figure 5: Likelihood to buy reduced sugar food and drink products, October 2016
                                              • Consumers are open to a wide range of sugar alternatives
                                                • Figure 6: Preferred alternatives to refined white sugar, October 2016
                                              • Suspicions over sweeteners could be a barrier to reformulation
                                                • Figure 7: Attitudes towards sugar and sweeteners in food and drink, October 2016
                                              • Amenability to less sweet tastes offers an opportunity
                                                • What we think
                                                • Issues and Insights

                                                  • Consumers’ amenability to less sweet tastes allows manufacturers options to cut sugar without replacing
                                                    • The facts
                                                      • The implications
                                                        • Explaining sweeteners could help to overcome concerns over reformulations
                                                          • The facts
                                                            • The implications
                                                              • Consumer openness to a range of sugar alternatives gives companies scope to experiment
                                                                • The facts
                                                                  • The implications
                                                                  • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                                    • Decline in sugar brings down entire market over 2011-16
                                                                      • Inflation to affect the market over 2016-21
                                                                        • Sugar volume decline to slow, sweeteners to remain static
                                                                          • Government pressure on industry to cut sugar
                                                                            • Multiple health organisations advise sugar cutbacks
                                                                              • New advertising rules ban promotion of sugary products to children
                                                                              • Market Size, Segmentation and Forecast

                                                                                • Decline in sugar brings down entire market over 2011-16
                                                                                  • Inflation to push up prices over 2016-21
                                                                                    • Figure 8: UK retail value sales of sugar, sweeteners and honey, 2011-21
                                                                                    • Figure 9: UK retail value sales of sugar, sweeteners and honey, 2011-21
                                                                                  • Table-top sugar
                                                                                    • Health concerns push down sugar volume sales over 2011-16
                                                                                      • White sugar feels the principal impact of consumer cutbacks
                                                                                        • Figure 10: UK retail value and volume sales of sugar, by segment, 2015 and 2016
                                                                                      • Sugar decline to slow over 2016-21
                                                                                        • Multiple factors determine sugar prices
                                                                                          • Figure 11: UK retail value sales of sugar, 2011-21
                                                                                          • Figure 12: UK retail value sales of sugar, 2011-21
                                                                                        • Sweeteners
                                                                                          • Deflation negates effects of modest sweetener volume growth in 2016
                                                                                            • Rising production costs to make sweetener values edge up over 2016-21
                                                                                                • Figure 13: UK retail value sales of sweeteners, 2011-21
                                                                                                • Figure 14: UK retail value sales of sweeteners, 2011-21
                                                                                              • Honey
                                                                                                • Honey’s health halo sees it gain strength as a sugar alternative over 2011-16
                                                                                                  • Honey volume sales growth to run out of steam over 2016-21
                                                                                                    • Figure 15: UK retail value sales of honey, 2011-21
                                                                                                    • Figure 16: UK retail value sales of honey, 2011-21
                                                                                                  • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                                                                    • Government sets industry targets to cut sugar by 20% by 2020
                                                                                                      • Soft Drinks Levy to hit the soft drinks industry
                                                                                                        • Potential for the tax to have wider implications
                                                                                                          • EFSA rules make it difficult to make low-sugar claims
                                                                                                            • Multiple health organisations advise sugar cutbacks
                                                                                                              • WHO advises restricting certain naturally occurring sugars as well as added sugars
                                                                                                                • British Dental Association advises parents to reduce sugar in their children’s diets
                                                                                                                  • National Diet and Nutrition Survey says average sugar consumption remains too high
                                                                                                                    • New rules ban companies from advertising sugary products to children
                                                                                                                      • Sugar-scanning app proves popular with consumers
                                                                                                                        • New Change4Life app targets parents’ health concerns
                                                                                                                          • Ageing population likely to limit sales of all products with sugar
                                                                                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                            • Silver Spoon regains position as sugar market leader
                                                                                                                              • Own-label grows sales in weak sweeteners market
                                                                                                                                • Modest growth in L/N/R sugar launches
                                                                                                                                  • Stronger activity in drinks
                                                                                                                                    • Artificial sweeteners remain the principal sugar substitute, but use of stevia and honey is growing
                                                                                                                                      • Nestlé announces chocolate breakthrough
                                                                                                                                        • Brands look to associate no-sugar products with enjoyment
                                                                                                                                        • Market Share

                                                                                                                                          • Sugar
                                                                                                                                            • Silver Spoon returns as market leader
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 17: UK retail sales of sugar, by leading brands, 2013/14-2015/16
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 18: UK retail sales of sugar, by leading manufacturers, 2013/14-2015/16
                                                                                                                                            • Billington’s buoys up sales through emphasis on its unrefined nature
                                                                                                                                              • Tate & Lyle loses out to Silver Spoon and own-label
                                                                                                                                                • Sweeteners
                                                                                                                                                  • Own-label strengthens position in weak sweeteners market
                                                                                                                                                    • Silver Spoon bucks negative trend for brands
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 19: UK retail sales of sweeteners, by leading brands, 2013/14-2015/16
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 20: UK retail sales of sweeteners, by leading manufacturers, 2013/14-2015/16
                                                                                                                                                  • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                    • Modest growth in L/N/R sugar claims in 2016
                                                                                                                                                      • Stronger activity in drinks
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 21: Share of food and non-alcoholic drink product category launches carrying an L/N/R sugar claim, by category (sorted by 2015)^, 2011-16
                                                                                                                                                      • Soft drinks brands take differing approaches to reducing sugar
                                                                                                                                                        • Major brands reformulate and withdraw sugary variants
                                                                                                                                                          • Tesco reformulates own-label soft drinks and delists brands
                                                                                                                                                            • Brands’ increased emphasis on lack of sugar helps drive growth in L/N/R sugar CSD launches
                                                                                                                                                              • CCE extends into other drinks categories
                                                                                                                                                                • AG Barr creates zero-sugar Irn-Bru variant
                                                                                                                                                                  • Fruit juices put stronger emphasis on lack of added sugars
                                                                                                                                                                    • Nestlé announces chocolate breakthrough
                                                                                                                                                                      • Friesland Campina launches no-added-sugar Yazoo
                                                                                                                                                                        • Waitrose moves to cut sugar in its breakfast cereals
                                                                                                                                                                          • Yogurt brands vary in their approach to cutting sugar
                                                                                                                                                                            • Müller reformulates and Yoplait expands its low-sugar offering
                                                                                                                                                                              • Arla turns to fruit/vegetable blends
                                                                                                                                                                                • Artificial sweeteners remain the primary sugar substitute
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: L/N/R sugar food and non-alcoholic drink launches, by ingredients^, 2011-16
                                                                                                                                                                                • Strong growth in use of stevia
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Continued growth in soft drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Napolina substitutes sugar with stevia in pasta sauces
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Honey’s natural health halo drives rise in launches
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Sweet food brands look to offer reassurance on sweeteners
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                                                                                                          • Brands look to associate no-sugar drinks and food with pleasure
                                                                                                                                                                                            • CSD brands focus on taste
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Robinsons links sugar avoidance with childhood adventures
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Promoting abstention with No Added Sugar Days
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Friesland Campina gives parents permission with No Sugar Yazoo
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Danone Light & Free promotes care-free image
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Renewed focus on sugar heightens people’s health concerns
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Concerns about artificial sweeteners also rise
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ageing population has implications for all sugar-containing products
                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Majority of people check product nutritional details in some way
                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Reduced sugar soft drinks widely accepted, and opportunities for NPD in breakfast cereals and yogurt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Portion control focus could be best approach for sweet treat makers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumers are open to a wide range of sugar alternatives
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Suspicions over sweeteners could be a barrier to reformulation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Amenability to less sweet tastes offers an opportunity
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Concerns about Ingredients in Food and Non-alcoholic Drink

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Renewed government and media focus heightens consumers’ sugar concerns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Concerns over artificial sweeteners linger despite EFSA assurances
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Concern about selected ingredients in food and non-alcoholic drink, October 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ageing population has implications for all sugar-containing products
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Sugar-related Behaviours

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Majority of people check nutritional details in some way
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • L/N/R sugar labels can appeal even to those who do not check labels
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Sugar-related behaviours, October 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Media coverage of sugar in savoury foods affects consumer behaviour
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Opportunities for expansion in reduced sugar table and cooking sauces
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Changed buying behaviour especially likely among parents of young children
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Appeal of no-added-sugar label drives change in snacking habits
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Likelihood to Buy Reduced Sugar Food and Drink Products

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Soft drinks levy and familiarity enhance appeal of reduced sugar soft drinks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Likelihood to buy reduced sugar food and drink products, October 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Reduced sugar breakfast cereals have strong chance to appeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Also strong opportunities for reduced sugar yogurts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Focus on portion control could be best approach for sweet treat makers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Preferred Alternatives to Refined White Sugar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Consumer openness gives companies scope to explore a range of substitutes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Honey’s natural health halo boosts its appeal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Preferred alternatives to refined white sugar, October 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Plant-derived sweeteners benefit from their associations with nature
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes towards Sugar and Sweeteners in Food and Drink

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • No-added-sugar label appeals more than low/reduced sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Attitudes towards sugar and sweeteners in food and drink, October 2016
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Consumers’ suspicion of sweeteners a potential barrier to reformulation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer openness to less sweet tastes gives options to cut sugar without replacing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Best- and worst-case forecasts for retail value sales of sugar, sweeteners and honey, 2016-21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Best- and worst-case forecasts for retail value sales of sugar, 2016-21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Best- and worst-case forecasts for retail value sales of sweeteners, 2016-21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Best- and worst-case forecasts for retail value sales of honey, 2016-21
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Forecast Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Share of product category launches carrying an L/N/R sugar claim, by category (sorted by 2015), 2011-16

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Attitudes towards Sugar & Sweeteners - UK - January 2017

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