Posted on: July 18th, 2023

Reducing sugar in food has become a significant priority for both governments and consumers, as high sugar consumption has been associated with various diseases and health complications. Reformulating products to lower sugar content has emerged as a potential solution.

Although some believe that food manufacturers have been slow to reformulate their products, there are leading companies making strides in reducing sugar through reformulation. Let’s explore some of the approaches manufacturers are adopting to achieve sugar reduction.

Key points:

  • Sugar is a major concern for consumers when making food and beverage choices.
  • Reformulation efforts are particularly prevalent in confectionery and alcoholic beverages.
  • Consumers show a preference for natural sweeteners over artificial ones in sugar reduction.

New and innovative sugars are emerging, providing additional options for manufacturers.

Why is Sugar Reformulation Important?

The IFIC’s 17th annual Food and Health Survey found that “low in sugar” was the second most popular attribute associated with healthy food among Americans, with 32% of participants selecting it. This indicates the significance of sugar in consumers’ perception of healthy eating. In Europe, a recent EFSA study showed that two out of three respondents have attempted to reduce their sugar intake at some point in their lives.

These findings underscore the importance of sugar reduction for consumers, creating a potentially lucrative market for food and beverage producers.

Which Sugar Products Are Being Reformulated?

Sugar reformulation efforts have been particularly prominent in the confectionery and alcoholic beverage sectors. Manufacturers are striving to reduce sugar content while maintaining taste and quality.

How is Sugar Reformulation Achieved?

To reduce sugar content while maintaining flavor, manufacturers are employing various strategies. These include incorporating additional ingredients with high flavor profiles, such as fruits, seeds, cocoa, and nuts. These ingredients not only contribute to taste but also allow companies to market their products as having added nutritional benefits, such as protein, vitamins, or fibers.

Additionally, sugar-free alternatives using high-intensity sweeteners like Stevia are gaining popularity. However, to balance the sweetness, formulators often introduce ingredients like cocoa powder to add a touch of bitterness.

Natural vs. Artificial Sugars

Consumer preferences are shifting towards clean labels and natural ingredients. Natural sweeteners, such as honey and stevia, are increasingly favored over artificial alternatives due to their plant-based and sustainable nature. This aligns with consumers’ values and allows manufacturers to make “naturally sweetened” claims.

Another emerging trend in sugar reformulation involves using natural syrups or extracts, including rice, oat, and other cereals. These natural sweetening agents are easily recognizable to consumers and provide an ideal choice for natural sweetening. Manufacturers can also make natural claims by incorporating these syrups into their reformulated products.

New Sugar Alternatives

Advancements in sugar alternatives offer promising possibilities for sugar reformulation. Innovations in Reb M stevia production, bioconversion, and precision fermentation show potential for reducing or even eliminating sugar while ensuring affordability and sustainability in the long run.

Flavor and taste modification techniques are also being explored. Marketed as natural flavors, these techniques can help reduce sugar content in products like baked goods where sweeteners like stevia are restricted.

The future of sugar reformulation is bright as consumer demand drives industry efforts. Manufacturers are increasingly motivated to meet these expectations, and the available options for achieving sugar reduction have never been more abundant.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health worldwide by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.


Original article posted by MĂ©rieux NutriSciences.

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