Sugar has consistently been seen as the number one dietary evil, with much attention given to the dangers of excessive amounts in a diet. Despite this, many consumers still face a number of lifestyle related health problems – such as diabetes and obesity.
This can be down to two key challenges that consumers face: taste and convenience. However, the impact of COVID-19 has intensified the war on sugar as consumers become more concerned about their health and wellbeing.
This has led to many actively seeking to make changes to help boost their overall health.
Across the globe, sugar content is one of the key product attributes influencing purchasing habits, considered the fourth most important factor behind taste, price and natural formulation.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that consumers are seeking out products with the lowest sugar content, but the volume of sugar within a product is something that does sway their purchasing habits.
FMCG Gurus’ The War on Sugar in 2021 Global Report reveals that 40% of global consumers claims to make conscious attempts to moderate intake of foods that contain sugar. It also says that 43% state low sugar claims are important in baked snacks.
Unsurprisingly, consumers are now more concerned about their immune health due to the impact of COVID-19. FMCG Gurus research shows that currently, seven in 10 consumers say they are taking steps to boost their immune health – doing so by changing their diet. Of these consumers, 66% claim to have reduced their sugar intake. This demonstrates that consumers do not consider sugar to add any nutritional value to their diet.
This desire to actively seek healthier, low sugar products will also impact the snacking industry in 2021.
In recent years, sports nutrition snacks have become more mainstream and now found on many impulse aisles within supermarkets, convenience stores and other retailers. The popularity of such products is not only driven by regular gym-goers but everyday consumers seeking out better-for-you alternatives. This has also led to a number of them switching traditional snacks for those with high protein claims. In fact, FMCG Gurus research found 51% of global consumers state they have done this in the past 12 months.
As consumers look to re-evaluate their snacking habits in 2021, it is important that to be accepted as ‘healthy’ offering, it should carry a low or no sugar claim. This even has a higher preference than functional claims like high in protein.
Given the increased frequency of snacking, priority is given to avoidance and moderation over maximising intake of ingredients associated with offering a nutritional boost. Again, this shows that consumers want snacks they deem to be guilt-free, offering moments of escapism without conflicting on other health goals.