Nutritional Outlook – High-intensity sweeteners: Where is innovation heading?
Sugar is one of the most popular ingredients in the diet, and consumers are used to the sweet taste and texture as a source of comfort and indulgence. Surprisingly, the majority of sugar consumption comes from highly processed foods and sweetened beverages rather than from desserts and confectioneries.
Consumer attitudes towards sugar have shifted worldwide. On one hand, processed sugar is perceived as unhealthy and contributing to the rise in obesity around the world. On the other hand, in its less-refined forms, sugar is considered clean and natural.
Global worries about sugar over-consumption, corresponding with a rise in diseases, have led to rising demand for low-sugar and reduced-sugar products, forcing food and beverage formulators to prioritize sugar reduction in product innovation, development, and marketing strategy. Likewise, sweetener manufacturers have delved deeper into the research and development of alternative sweeteners as sugar substitutes to cater to the needs of this highly dynamic market.
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Sreedevi K. Consultant, Food & Nutrition