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Sweeteners and Attitudes Toward Sugar - Canada - December 2016

"Sugar remains a staple product for Canadians as 87% use any kind of sugar or alternative sweetener. That said, the category faces challenges as seven out of 10 (69%) Canadians are concerned about the impact sugar has on their overall health. Notably, concerns extend beyond mere usage for cooking but also as hidden formats in food. Press coverage has been gaining the attention of Canadians and fuelling a preference for more natural options. However, as consumers are confused about the naturalness of options for sugars and sugar substitutes, the desire to try new or less familiar alternatives to the traditional white sugar is muted."

- Carol Wong-Li, Senior Analyst, Lifestyles and Leisure

This report will cover the following areas:

  • Concerns about consumption impact on health do not deter occasional enjoyment
  • Confusion in the marketplace is hurting the category
  • Naturalness is a bit of a luxury

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions for table-top sweeteners:

  • Sugar (white granulated, brown and powdered)
  • Table syrup (maple, corn) and molasses
  • Sugar substitutes, such as Splenda, Sweet’N Low, Equal, Truvia, etc
  • Honey

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Concerns about consumption impact on health do not deter occasional enjoyment
            • Figure 1: Attitudes towards sugars/alternative sweeteners, October 2016
          • Confusion in the marketplace is hurting the category
            • Figure 2: Selected attitudes towards sugars/alternative sweeteners, October 2016
          • Naturalness is a bit of a luxury
            • Figure 3: Selected purchase factors, #1 rank, by household income, October 2016
          • Opportunities
            • 45-54s are transitioning, which means opportunities to connect
              • Figure 4: Selected attitudes towards sugars/alternative sweeteners (any agree), 45-54s vs overall, October 2016
            • Alternative sweeteners have an audience in men aged 25-34 and fathers
              • Figure 5: Low/no-calorie purchase factor (any rank), men aged 25-34 and fathers vs overall, October 2016
            • Baking up opportunities
              • Figure 6: Selected purchase factors (any rank), by gender, October 2016
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Sales of sugars have declined over the past five years
                • Government proposals for label changes
                  • Obesity is on the minds of Canadians
                    • An aging population brings challenges
                      • Diversity in the population means diversity in health considerations
                      • Market Factors

                        • Sales of sugar decline over the past five years
                          • Figure 7: Total Canadian sales value for sugars and alternative sweeteners, at current prices, 2011-16
                        • The government is calling attention to sugar consumption
                          • Over half of Canadians are overweight or obese
                            • Potential for change lies with younger men
                              • Figure 8: Body mass index, self-reported rate of being overweight or obese among Canadian adults, by gender, 2010-14
                            • Population is aging
                              • Figure 9: Population aged 65 years and over in Canada, historical and projected (% of total), 1971-2061
                            • Challenges lie ahead for the category
                              • International migration will impact alternative sweetener and sugar consumption
                                • Canadian population is growing due mainly to immigration
                                  • Figure 10: Region of birth of immigrants, by period of immigration, Canada, 2011
                                • Greater diversity in ethnic diversity will impact health considerations
                                • Key Trends – What You Need to Know

                                  • Canadians are sweet on honey
                                    • Baking needs sweeteners
                                      • Press coverage taints Canadians’ taste for sugars
                                        • Companies guide the way
                                        • What’s Working?

                                          • Canadian interest in honey is golden
                                              • Figure 11: Novo Mel Wild Flower Raw Honey (Canada, November 2016)
                                              • Figure 12: Dutchman’s Gold Raw Honey (Canada, September 2016)
                                            • Baking fuels diversity in sugar needs
                                              • Figure 13: Sugar and sugar substitute usage, repertoire analysis, by gender, October 2016
                                              • Figure 14: Caesars Tea Organic Golden Sugar (Canada, December 2015)
                                              • Figure 15: Stevia Extract Baking Blend (US, November 2015)
                                          • What’s Struggling?

                                            • Negative press combined with a lack of clarity in offerings is hurting the category
                                              • Media coverage is being noticed
                                                • Sugar crashes are not appealing
                                                  • Lack of understanding does not help the category
                                                  • What’s Next?

                                                    • Companies helping consumers
                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                      • Usage patterns highlight interest in natural or less processed options
                                                        • Consumers are confused
                                                          • Concerns around sugars extend into foods
                                                            • Canadians allow themselves sugary treats despite concerns
                                                              • Taste, naturalness and price are the top consideration points
                                                              • Sugar Types Usage

                                                                • White sugar and honey prove most popular amongst Canadians
                                                                  • Figure 16: Sugar usage, October 2016
                                                                • Women more inclined to use sugars
                                                                  • Sweet honey highs seen with women under 45
                                                                    • Figure 17: Women’s sugar/sugar substitute usage, by age, October 2016
                                                                    • Figure 18: Big Tree Farms Blonde Organic Coconut Sugar (US, November 2016)
                                                                  • Maple syrup tops usage in Quebec
                                                                  • Sugar Substitute Usage

                                                                    • One in four Canadians use alternative sweeteners
                                                                      • Figure 19: Sugar substitute usage, October 2016
                                                                    • Older women are using alternative sweeteners
                                                                      • Sugar alternatives appeal to Millennial men and fathers
                                                                        • Figure 20: Sugar substitute usage, by gender and age, October 2016
                                                                      • Gains to be had by positioning alternative sweeteners in a masculine light
                                                                        • Figure 21: Edge Cereal – Boxcar, August 2016
                                                                    • Perceptions of Sugars and Alternative Sweeteners

                                                                      • Sugar and sugar substitutes: consumer preference is for more natural
                                                                        • Figure 22: Attitudes towards alternative sweeteners, October 2016
                                                                      • Alternative sweeteners: artificial sweeteners are bad for your health
                                                                        • Figure 23: Reduction and limitation behaviours towards sugars/alternative sweeteners, October 2016
                                                                      • Sugars vs alternative sweeteners – In their words
                                                                        • Media coverage and online information may be playing a role
                                                                          • Figure 24: Selected attitudes towards sugar and alternative sweeteners, October 2016
                                                                        • But do Canadians really know the difference?
                                                                          • Figure 25: Selected attitudes towards sugars and alternative sweeteners, October 2016
                                                                        • Only 24% can identify which sweeteners are natural and which are not
                                                                          • Figure 26: Reduction and limitation behaviours towards sugars/alternative sweeteners, women over 45 vs overall, October 2016
                                                                        • Sugar and sweetener manufacturers need to guide the way
                                                                          • Bring greater clarity to key terms
                                                                            • ‘Eye’ see what you mean – Visual cues will help
                                                                              • Figure 27: Dos Caballos Premium Raspberry Jam (Chile, November 2016)
                                                                            • Strategies should resonate with parents and Chinese Canadians
                                                                            • Food and Sugars/Alternative Sweeteners

                                                                              • There is an awareness of hidden sugars in food
                                                                                  • Figure 28: Reduction and limitation behaviours towards sugars/alternative sweeteners, October 2016
                                                                                • Awareness of hidden sugars increases with age and is heightened for women
                                                                                  • Figure 29: Reduction and limitation behaviours towards sugars/alternative sweeteners, by age and gender, October 2016
                                                                                • Some sugars are better: naturally occurring vs added sugars
                                                                                  • Figure 30: Attitudes related to natural and added sugar, women over 55 vs overall, October 2016
                                                                                • Foods with artificial sweeteners should be avoided
                                                                                  • Figure 31: Attitudes in regards to artificial sweeteners (any agree), October 2016
                                                                                • Clarity in claims and labelling will help
                                                                                  • Figure 32: Attitudes in regards to artificial sweeteners (any agree), by age and gender, October 2016
                                                                                  • Figure 33: Nakd. Banana Crunch Raw Fruit, Crunchies & Nut Wholefood Bars (UK, September 2016)
                                                                                • Special consideration: hidden sugars are less of a concern for Quebecers
                                                                                • Attitudes towards Sugar Consumption

                                                                                  • Despite concerns, occasional sugar consumption is welcome
                                                                                    • Figure 34: Select attitudes towards sugars/alternative sweeteners, October 2016
                                                                                  • Watchfulness increases with age
                                                                                    • Over-55s are the most conservative
                                                                                        • Figure 35: A healthy diet should be low in sugar (any agree), by gender and age, October 2016
                                                                                      • Greater leeway is seen amongst under-55s
                                                                                        • Figure 36: Attitudes in regards to sugary foods (any agree), by age, October 2016
                                                                                      • 18-34s are all about ‘moderation’
                                                                                          • Figure 37: Agreement with “I probably consume more sugar than the daily recommended amount”, by age, October 2016
                                                                                        • 45-54s are in a period of transition
                                                                                            • Figure 38: Sasko’s Low GI Whole Wheat Brown Bread (South Africa, January 2016)
                                                                                        • Monitoring Consumption

                                                                                          • Calories and professional guidance influence over-45s
                                                                                            • Figure 39: Reduction and limitation behaviours towards sugars/alternative sweeteners, by age, October 2016
                                                                                          • Healthier alternatives will appeal
                                                                                            • Figure 40: World Waters’ WTRMLN WTR Cold Pressed Juiced Watermelon (US, September 2016)
                                                                                          • Consumers are paying attention to labels
                                                                                            • Figure 41: Attitudes in regards to sugar vigilance (any agree), October 2016
                                                                                          • Women are more vigilant, increasing with age
                                                                                            • Figure 42: Agreement with “I typically check food/drink labels for the amount of sugar’ (any agree), by age and gender, October 2016
                                                                                          • Opportunities for manufacturers to lend a helping hand in understanding labels
                                                                                            • Appealing to the home cook with less processed sugars and alternative sweeteners
                                                                                              • Figure 43: Clic’s 100% Natural Raw Sugar (Canada, August 2015)
                                                                                          • Purchase Factors

                                                                                            • Taste is key, with naturalness and price also top of mind
                                                                                              • Figure 44: Purchase factors (any rank), October 2016
                                                                                            • For those who can afford it, naturalness tops taste and value
                                                                                              • Figure 45: Selected purchase factors, #1 rank, by household income, October 2016
                                                                                            • Calories matter to men
                                                                                              • Figure 46: Low/no-calorie purchase factor (any rank), men aged 25-34 and fathers vs overall, October 2016
                                                                                              • Figure 47: Splenda Daddy – Paris on a Budget, August 2016
                                                                                            • Health-related factors more top of mind for alternative sweetener users
                                                                                              • Figure 48: Purchase factors, by sugar or alternative sweetener users, October 2016
                                                                                            • Alternative sweeteners: branding cues will play a role for men and dads
                                                                                              • Figure 49: Attitude towards sweetener packaging (any agree), by age and gender, October 2016
                                                                                              • Figure 50: TD Better Seat, January 2016
                                                                                          • Canadians vs Americans on Sweeteners

                                                                                            • Canadians are less open to artificial sweeteners
                                                                                              • Figure 51: Behaviours towards sugars/sugar substitutes, Canadians vs Americans, Canada October 2016, US September 2016
                                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                    • Abbreviations

                                                                                                    Companies Covered

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

                                                                                                    Sweeteners and Attitudes Toward Sugar - Canada - December 2016

                                                                                                    US $3,995.00 (Excl.Tax)