Sugaronline Editorial - Everyone is going to die! By Meghan Sapp

Published: 04/21/2017, 2:34:00 PM

Tired of research manipulating consumers' impressions of sugar? The food industry is working hard to be proactive.

Tired of research manipulating consumers' impressions of sugar? The food industry is working hard to be proactive.


It’s a simple truth that everyone dies, but the vast majority of people want that day to be a long way off and with the highest quality of life possible until that day arrives. But achieving that goal seems ever more difficult, especially if one group of scientists tells you one thing and another tells you something else.

The argument by some scientists that eating sugar will make you fat, leading to obesity and diabetes is nothing new but this week other published a study showing that consuming alternative sweeteners can lead to Alzheimer’s and stroke. Not only that, but they say eating sugar can lead to Alzheimer’s too!

With much of the global sugar industry taking a more subtle approach to the war on sugar, not wanting to step on toes or looking to be manipulating research or worsening what may already be seen as a negative image, the food industry is trying to be more proactive in its responses to policy challenges such as sugar taxes and consumer trends that move away from sugar-based products.

Earlier this month, FoodNavigator hosted an online seminar on sugar reduction and alternative sweeteners that brought together experts from across industry, academia, and medicine to look at current trends and try to understand how to position products, reformulate and tackle consumer preferences going forward. The panels and presentations are available for free download (with log-in) until June, and are well worth the time investment.

The conclusions reached by the presenters as well as the comments from participants who were allowed to interact live during the sessions provide key insights into the concerns of sugar consumers that will be vital in understanding how demand may evolve in the future. From technology to reformulation to food ingredients that take the place of sugar or eliminate the need for it all together, it’s all going to impact sugar demand in countries where obesity is or is becoming headline news—so basically, just about everywhere.

Pay attention too to how they communicate, the words they use and the strategies they employ with end consumers. There are hints here that can be replicated by the sugar industry as well, if only there was enough momentum to work together to bust myths about sugar and sugar consumption. Otherwise consumers will go on eating the messages they are fed.


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