Top trends in sugar reduction

With diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes on the rise, healthier eating is a topic on the minds of consumers and public health authorities the world over.


As a result, dairy producers are under increased pressure to find innovative ways of reducing the sugar in their products. 
Of course, that’s a task easier said than done. People want reduced calories in their dairy products, but they’re not eager to compromise on the tastes and textures they’ve come to love and expect in their milk, yogurt and ice cream. 

That’s the sugar reduction situation in a nutshell, but let’s take a deeper dive into the trends forcing producers to rethink how they sweeten their dairy.

Healthier lifestyles are on the menu

According to market intelligence agency Mintel, consumers’ focus on reducing the amount of sugar in their diets will only gain momentum. Consumers will become more educated about sugar, and will seek more information and clarity about sugar in food and drink.

At the same time, governments around the world are tackling the issue via legislation. Using strategies like sugar taxes, public awareness campaigns and more stringent labeling requirements, countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. are pushing to make healthier choices available to consumers.

And, it seems to be working: A 2016 Reuters/Ipsos poll of 1,883 adults living in the United States found that 58% had tried to limit sugar in their diets in the previous 30 days. That’s higher than the percentage of those who were targeting reductions in their intake of calories, sodium, fats, cholesterol or carbohydrates. 


What’s on the label matters

Studies show that consumers are paying more attention to what’s on the label of their dairy products. In fact, one recent Mintel survey found that consumers consider sugar as important as fat when evaluating the healthiness of a product.

Having natural ingredients—as opposed to artificial sweeteners—however, is a must in the minds of consumers. “No added sugar” claims, likewise, continue to gain ground in food and drink. Consumers are interested in the type of sugar, as well as the amount of sugar.
They’re also willing to pay more for those claims. Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey of more than 30,000 individuals online found that 88% of those polled were willing to pay more for healthier foods.”  And, a more recent study found that more than half of consumers in eight countries said they check the sugar content of foods before buying them. 

For producers using natural sugar in lower amounts, that sure sounds like a sweet position to be in.

Want to learn more?

Read our other articles about the trend toward sugar reduction in dairy foods and beverages.

  1. Prentice, Chris. “Exclusive: Americans say they are trying to cut sugar intake – poll.” Available at: 2016.
  2. Gagliardi, Nancy. “Consumers Want Healthy Foods--And Will Pay More For Them.” Available at: 2015.
  3. Siegner, Cathy. “Survey: More than half of global consumers check the label for sugar.” Available at: 2018.

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