Sugar reduction/replacement technologies seek to mimic a single ingredient with a concoction.
Demonization of sugar has given birth to the sugar reduction sector, and in the recent past, accelerated it. Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant rise in new products claiming to be ‘low calorie’, ‘low sugar’, ‘no added sugar’, ‘sugar free’. In 2018, the market researcher Innova Market Insights found that in the US, 8% percent of all new food and beverage launches featured a sugar reduction claim. Of these, 42% of the products claimed to have “no added sugar”, while 36% were “sugar-free” and 27% “low-sugar”. But it is unlikely that the sugar reduction sector will expand much beyond the current level. This is largely because of the technological, regulatory, economic and consumer acceptance hurdles a new ingredient has to traverse. Sugar reduction strategies include removing or reducing the amount of added sugar, replacing part of the sugar formulation with non-nutritive sweeteners or using novel processing technologies. Of the several hurdles, consumer acceptability is critical. To offset the evident lack of palatability of intense sweeteners (which often carry metallic or bitter taste and aftertastes) in sugar-reduced products, sweetness modulators are used. How long before consumers wise up to the fact that sugar reduced fare comprises a concoction of ingredients to replicate the taste of sugar? This presentation exposes the lengths to which companies are going to mimic the taste and function of sugar in various products.