An Innovative Approach
Meeting consumer taste and labeling preferences is a challenge. Utilizing an expansive portfolio of taste and nutrition solutions, including TasteSense™, Kerry uses industry-leading processing and facilities to identify captive modifiers to innovate at the molecular level. Built on 40+ years of experience in the food and beverage industry, our discovery, applications, creation, sensory and analytical experts work together to create novel, clean label solutions that meet consumer demand for optimized nutrition without compromising on taste.
Role of Sweetness
Our research shows that consumers are reviewing the type of sweetening agent, followed by grams of added sugar per serving. However, consumer knowledge around sweetening agents is mixed. Nearly half of consumers believe the ideal daily sugar intake is 6 to 9 teaspoons, which is in line with the guidance that several health and nutrition institutes recommend1. This indicates that Americans are aware of the ideal daily sugar intake, however are unaware of how to interpret the grams of sugar on a nutrition panel.
Perceived Ideal Daily Sugar Intake by Age
1: American Heart Association, Recommended Daily Added Sugar Limit
Americans are increasingly aware of their higher than recommended sugar consumption and believe that several food and beverage products contain too much sugar. Indulgent categories top the list of categories consumers say contain too much sugar, including carbonated soft drinks, cakes, pastries, packaged cookies, ice cream, and juice.
Consumers have a strong preference for naturally derived sweetening agents, such as honey, sugar and maple syrup
55% of consumers want reduced sugar products to taste the same while 27% of American consumers want products to taste less sweet2
Categories Perceived to Contain Too Much Sugar
2: Kerry Proprietary Sensibly Sweet Consumer Research, June 2018
The strongest driver of preference was honey, followed by other natural sources such as sugar and maple syrup. A number of other natural sweetening agents actually drove negative perceptions, likely due to lack of consumer awareness.
A very clear “sweet spot” for protein was between 5g and 10g. Formulations with 8g to 10g of protein were the most preferred. Overall, however, protein was the least powerful factor driving preference.
Calorie Count Per Serving
We found that any level under 50 calories was a positive preference driver, with zero calories as the second most important factor driving liking. This means products with zero calories are strongly preferred and would overcome most sources of sweetness as a driver of preference.