The rapidly expanding array of sweetener options merits a look at the best uses, applications, and formats whether considering them solely for flavor and performance or with an eye on reduction of nutritive sugars. Among the nutritive sweetener, trending sources include syrups from maple, sorghum, corn, and malted grains.
Consumers' continued pursuit of more healthy alternatives to their favorite indulgences has led to a rise in the use of natural high-intensity sweeteners, ultra-low-calorie 1:1 drop-in sweeteners, and natural sweetness enhancers.
Consumer commitment to reduce sugar consumption continues to drive industry opportunities to develop non-nutritive sweeteners that perform and taste like table sugar. Blending nutritive sweeteners with high-intensity sweeteners (HIS) has become the standard, with stevia being the common go-to, typically in blends with everything from corn-derived sucrose or dextrose to maltose or tapioca sugar, or recent arrivals like coconut sugar.
The 2019 International Food Information Council (IFIC) Food and Health Survey reported that limiting or reducing sugar in the diet, along with eating more fruits and vegetables, topped the dietary changes consumers were making.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 30 million Americans — nearly 10% of the entire population — are living with diabetes, and perhaps as many as 85 million more are living with prediabetes.
The drive to satisfy the sweet tooth of the American consumer seems to become more complicated and confusing every year. The realities of the obesity epidemic create a divide that nearly every consumer confronts on a daily basis.
In recent years, even as sucrose has continued to score at the top of consumers’ professed ingredient concerns, nutritive sweeteners and even plain sucrose have shed many of their unwarranted negative connotations to reassert their class as sweeteners of choice for a spectrum of food and beverage formulations.
In the decade between 2003 and 2014, the percentage of kids enjoying a daily sugar- or similarly calorically sweetened beverage fell from nearly 80% to under 61%, and the number of adults doing the same fell from almost 62% down to 50%.