Beverages lead in low/no/reduced sugar launches

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sugar substitute, Sucralose, France, Spain

Non-alcoholic beverages saw the most low/no/reduced sugar product
launches in major European markets in 2007, suggests data from
Mintel, but many products use fruit rather than artificial

Efforts are made across Europe to introduce or reformulate healthier products, and reducing the amount of sugar or eliminating it entirely is one of the ways that manufacturers can draw consumers who still want to eat favourite products but also pay attention to their waist lines. Data drawn from Mintel's Global New Products Database (GNPD​) on low/no/reduced sugar products launches in Germany, Italy, Spain, France and UK in 2007 showed the most listings in the non-alcoholic beverage category across all markets. The UK had the most listings for non-alcoholic beverages with 72 (variants not listed separately), followed by France with 69 and Germany with 62. Italy and Spain had 21 and 20 listings respectively. In all markets, the second highest number of listings came in the confectionery category (53 in France, 38 in Spain, 36 in UK, 34 in Germany and 14 in Italy. But a glance through the ingredients lists of confectionery launches suggests that this category makes far more use of artificial sweeteners than beverages do. Sweeteners used for confectionery include sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol, aspartame, sucralose, acesulfame K, isomalt, mannitol and dextrin. While these do also crop up in the ingredients of some non-alcoholic beverages, many more products do not contain artificial ingredients at all, but list a cocktail of fruit juices and concentrates which provide sweetness with the need for any 'added' sugars or sweeteners. This is clearly possible because fruit flavours are fundamental for beverages, and can be added easily in liquid form. What is more, they allow beverages to project a more 'natural' image, in keeping with the consumer sway away from additives. Interestingly, there were almost as many listings in Germany in the baby food category for low/no/reduced sugar products as there were in confectionery - 27. In the UK there were 17 listings, in France and Spain eight each, and none in Italy. In all categories, the UK has the highest number of listing for new low/no/reduced sugar product launches last year, with 263. France was in second place, with 239, followed by Germany with 183, Spain with 100 and Italy with 77. The categories that showed up in the listings were: alcoholic beverages; baby food; bakery; breakfast cereals; confectionery; dairy; desserts and ice cream; fruit and vegetables; meals/meal centres; non-alcoholic beverages; processed meat, fish and egg products; sauces and seasonings; side dishes; snacks; soups; spreads; and sweeteners/sugars. Data source: Mintel's Global New Products Database

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