Sugar free bread to tap US health trend

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sucralose

US baker Oroweat is set to launch a completely sugar free bread in
selected American states, again highlighting how the battering
handed out to sugar over rising obesity and diabetes problems has
given new life to artificial sweeteners, writes Chris
Mercer.

Oroweat, owned by US group Bimbo Bakeries, itself a subsidiary of the Mexican Grupo Bimbo, is preparing to launch a whole wheat, sugar free bread in all states west of the Mississippi river, except Texas.

The company has aimed its product specifically at America's growing diabetic community, now including more than 18 million people with around 1.3 million new cases reported each year. As a result, the firm will make an unspecified donation to the Juveniles Diabetes Research Foundation for every sugar free loaf sold.

Oroweat also claimed that its new bread had in no way sacrificed taste. The company was reluctant to say how it had achieved this, but another Grupo Bimbo subsidiary operating in Texas, Mrs Baird's, already sells sugar free bread containing aspartame - a well-known sweetener.

If, as is likely, Oroweat also uses a sweetener in its bread, the move helps to show how sugar alternatives are gaining more and more credence in a range of different products as added sugar has become embroiled in bad publicity surrounding America's obesity crisis.

A report from market researchers Freedonia​ says that the market for alternative sweeteners holds considerable potential in the US.

The group said the sweetener market would increase 8.3 per cent year on year until 2008, as rising health concerns drive consumers towards sugar free products and food makers introduce zero-calorie or low-calorie sugar substitutes into their new product formulations.

Sales will rise from a small base of $81 million in 1998 to $189 million in 2008.

British sugar firm Tate & Lyle has seen demand for its sugar replacer, Splenda, outstripping production, not to mention a deal for its use in Coca-Cola's new diet coke range signed last week. Splenda was used in 1,436 new products worldwide in 2004, up from 573 in 2003 and 35 in 1999, according to market analysts Datamonitor.

The brand, marketed by McNeil Nutritionals, is currently involved in several legal battles with the sugar industry in the US - both sides accusing the other of making misleading claims about Splenda's make-up and position on the market.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging, Health

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