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Consumer Attitudes toward Sugar and Sweeteners - UK - January 2015

“‘Naturalness’ appears to have become almost synonymous with healthiness and elicits trust from consumers, while anything artificial people tend to be wary of. This creates opportunities for manufacturers to move away from refined sugar and towards those with strong natural connotations in their recipe formulations.”
– Emma Clifford, Senior Food Analyst

This report looks at the following issues:

  • Companies that set the bar in terms of reducing sugar content will be seen in a positive light
  • Tapping into consumers’ positive perceptions of ‘naturalness’ can boost the health credentials of products
  • Openly communicating about ingredients will win the trust of shoppers

Sugar and the dangers attached to consuming too much of this ingredient became the major food issue of 2014. The increase in media coverage was noticed by over two fifths of consumers. Highlighting a direct link between this and consumer behaviour, over six in 10 people who were aware of the “sugar scare” in the media upped.

People remain wary of artificial sweeteners, with half of the population expressing concern about these ingredients. Meanwhile, with “naturalness” commonly eliciting trust from consumers, naturally sourced sweeteners such as stevia are met with far less resistance. A sizeable one in three (35%) adults would welcome more food products which use naturally sourced sweeteners. This suggests opportunities are ripe for NPD (New Product Development) involving these ingredients, within the technical and regulatory boundaries for this.

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. The market size refers to the retail sales of “table-top” sugar and sweeteners market, which are bought as sweetening ingredients, for example 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’. Sweeteners can broadly be split into two types: artificial sweeteners and naturally derived sweeteners.

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction

      • Definitions
        • Abbreviations
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: Retail value sales of the sugar and sweeteners market, 2009-19
            • Sugar
              • Sweeteners
                • Market factors
                  • The 2014 media storm over the sugar content of food and drink
                    • Obesity continues to put pressure on government budgets
                      • Most consumers are keen to shift some weight
                        • New Change4Life campaign focuses on sugar
                          • Companies, brands and innovation
                            • Tate & Lyle jumps ahead of Silver Spoon
                              • Figure 2: Brand shares in UK retail sales of sugar, by value, 2013/14*
                            • 2012 marked a five-year high for advertising activity
                              • Less than one in 20 food launches carry an L/N/R sugar claim
                                • The consumer
                                  • Fat content is the top concern
                                    • Figure 3: Concern with selected ingredients/factors in food and non-alcoholic drink, September 2014
                                  • Over two fifths have noticed an increase in media coverage on sugar
                                    • Figure 4: Opinion on how the amount of media coverage on how sugar affects your health has changed in the last year, September 2014
                                  • 46% of adults are monitoring/reducing their sugar intake more
                                    • Figure 5: Changes in behaviour relating to sugar/sweeteners, September 2014
                                  • High levels of awareness of hidden sugars
                                    • Figure 6: Attitudes towards sugar content in food/non-alcoholic drink products, September 2014
                                  • Demand for greater clarity in terms of use of sweeteners
                                    • Figure 7: Attitudes towards sweeteners, September 2014
                                  • What we think
                                  • Issues and Insights

                                      • Companies that set the bar in terms of reducing sugar content will be seen in a positive light
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                            • Tapping into consumers’ positive perceptions of ‘naturalness’ can boost the health credentials of products
                                              • The facts
                                                • The implications
                                                  • Openly communicating about ingredients will win the trust of shoppers
                                                    • The facts
                                                      • The implications
                                                      • Trend Application

                                                          • Trend: Factory Fear
                                                            • Trend: Help Me Help Myself
                                                              • Mintel Futures: Brand Intervention
                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                • Key points
                                                                  • The public debate has put sugar on people’s radars
                                                                    • The so-called “fat tax” debate continues to rumble on
                                                                      • Media coverage has had a tangible impact on consumer behaviour
                                                                        • Obesity continues to put pressure on government budgets
                                                                          • An absence of a ‘state stick’, yet pressure is still on the food industry
                                                                            • A stronger stance on sugar is in the pipeline
                                                                              • New Change4Life campaign focuses on sugar
                                                                                • Soft drinks brands are setting the bar
                                                                                  • The ageing population should lead to healthier mindsets
                                                                                  • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Less than one in 20 food launches carry an L/N/R sugar claim
                                                                                        • Figure 8: Share of product launches in the UK food and non-alcoholic drinks market carrying a low/no/reduced sugar claim, by major category, 2010-14
                                                                                        • Figure 9: Share of product launches in the global food and non-alcoholic drinks market carrying a low/no/reduced sugar claim, by major category and by region, 2010-14
                                                                                      • Cereals/snack/energy bars lead L/N/R sugar claims in 2014
                                                                                        • Figure 10: Share of product launches carrying a low/no/reduced sugar claim within selected categories in the UK food market, by minor category, 2013 and 2014
                                                                                      • An uptick in L/N/R sugar launches in the food market in 2014
                                                                                        • Figure 11: Share of product launches in the UK food market carrying a low/no/reduced sugar claim, by quarter, 2014
                                                                                        • Figure 12: Launches in the UK food market carrying a low/no/reduced sugar claim, by launch type, by quarter, 2013 and 2014
                                                                                        • Figure 13: Share of product launches in the UK non-alcoholic drinks market carrying a low/no/reduced sugar claim, by category, 2010-14
                                                                                      • Stevia remains niche in drinks and almost non-existent in food
                                                                                        • Figure 14: Share of product launches in the UK food and non-alcoholic drinks market containing selected sweeteners, by major category, 2010-14
                                                                                      • Stevia remains decidedly rare in food launches
                                                                                      • Market Size and Segmentation

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • A dramatic decline in the sugar market in 2014
                                                                                            • Figure 15: Retail value sales of the sugar market, 2009-19
                                                                                          • The sugar debate has failed to increase demand for artificial sweeteners
                                                                                            • Figure 16: Retail value sales of the sweeteners market, 2009-19
                                                                                          • The future
                                                                                            • Figure 17: Retail value sales of the sugar and sweeteners market, 2009-19
                                                                                            • Figure 18: Retail value sales of the sugar and sweeteners market, 2009-19
                                                                                          • Sugar
                                                                                            • Figure 19: Retail value sales of the sugar market, 2009-19
                                                                                          • Sweeteners
                                                                                            • Figure 20: Retail value sales of the sweeteners market, 2009-19
                                                                                          • Factors used in the forecast
                                                                                          • Market Share

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Tate & Lyle jumps ahead of Silver Spoon
                                                                                                • Figure 21: Brand shares in UK retail sales of sugar, by value, 2013/14*
                                                                                                • Figure 22: Brand shares in UK retail sales of sugar, by value and volume, 2011/12-2013/14
                                                                                              • A stellar year for Whitworths
                                                                                                • Own-label plays a minor role
                                                                                                  • Canderel’s share edges up in the declining artificial sweetener segment
                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Brand shares in UK retail sales of artificial sweeteners, by value, 2011/12-2013/14
                                                                                                • Companies and Products

                                                                                                  • Silver Spoon Company (Associated British Foods)
                                                                                                    • Background
                                                                                                      • Product range
                                                                                                        • Recent activity
                                                                                                          • Tate & Lyle
                                                                                                            • Product range
                                                                                                              • Recent activity
                                                                                                                • Whitworths
                                                                                                                  • Background
                                                                                                                    • Product range
                                                                                                                      • Recent activity
                                                                                                                        • Merisant
                                                                                                                          • Background
                                                                                                                            • Product range
                                                                                                                              • Recent activity
                                                                                                                                • Hermes Sweeteners Ltd
                                                                                                                                  • Background
                                                                                                                                    • Product range
                                                                                                                                    • Brand Communication and Promotion

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • 2012 marked a five-year high for advertising activity
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 24: Topline advertising expenditure in the UK sugar and sweeteners market, 2010-14
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Topline advertising expenditure in the UK sugar and sweeteners market, by advertiser, 2010-14
                                                                                                                                        • Natural sweeteners took centre stage in 2012
                                                                                                                                          • Billington’s leapt onto the advertising scene in 2013
                                                                                                                                            • Tate & Lyle helped baking entrepreneurs in 2014
                                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – Concerns about Ingredients

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Fat content is the top concern
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Concern with selected ingredients/factors in food and non-alcoholic drink, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                • Sugar is a concern for more than half of adults
                                                                                                                                                  • Widespread scepticism over artificial sweeteners
                                                                                                                                                    • Only a minority have misgivings about sweeteners from natural sources
                                                                                                                                                      • Older generation are most health-oriented
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 27: Concern about selected ingredients/factors in food and non-alcoholic drink, by age, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                      • ABs are most diet-conscious
                                                                                                                                                      • The Consumer – Behaviour Relating to Sugar and Sweeteners

                                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                                          • Over two fifths have noticed an increase in media coverage on sugar
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Opinion on how the amount of media coverage on how sugar affects your health has changed in the last year, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • One in four are limiting their sugar intake more
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Changes in behaviour relating to sugar/sweeteners, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Overall changes in behaviour relating to sugar only, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Media awareness translates into more steps to avoid sugar
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Taking more steps to avoid sugar/sweeteners, by consumer awareness of changes in media coverage on sugar, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • People are most likely to limit sugar because of weight concerns
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Reasons consumers have for limiting the amount of sugar in their diets, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                          • Young people most likely to cut sugar for aesthetic reasons
                                                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Sugar Content in Food/Non-alcoholic Drink Products

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • High levels of awareness of hidden sugars
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 33: Attitudes towards sugar content in food/non-alcoholic drink products, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                              • Calls for greater transparency
                                                                                                                                                                • Most adults want the food industry to take more action…
                                                                                                                                                                  • …however, a fine line for companies to tread
                                                                                                                                                                    • Perceptions of healthiness vary by type of sugar
                                                                                                                                                                    • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Sweeteners

                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                        • Demand for greater clarity in terms of use of sweeteners
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: Attitudes towards sweeteners, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                        • Wariness of artificial sweeteners
                                                                                                                                                                          • The rise of natural sweeteners looks set to continue
                                                                                                                                                                            • Taste is a sticking point for sweeteners
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Further attitudes towards sweeteners, September 2014
                                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Forecast of UK retail sales of sugar and sweeteners, best- and worst-case forecast, by value, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Forecast of UK retail sales of sugar, best- and worst-case forecast, by value, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Forecast of UK retail sales of sweeteners, best- and worst-case forecast, by value, 2014-19

                                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                          • Billington Food Group
                                                                                                                                                                          • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                          • Hermes (GB) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                          • Kenwood Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                          • Merisant
                                                                                                                                                                          • Morphy Richards Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                          • Napier Brown
                                                                                                                                                                          • Tate & Lyle
                                                                                                                                                                          • The Silver Spoon Company
                                                                                                                                                                          • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                          • Whitworths Limited

                                                                                                                                                                          Consumer Attitudes toward Sugar and Sweeteners - UK - January 2015

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