Public concern of sugar consumption on the rise

by Staff
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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — Forty-four per cent of American homemakers are extremely or very concerned about serving foods with sugar — the highest percentage recorded since 1994, according to The NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company.

Such concerns could be attributed to heath concerns such as obesity and diabetes, and there has been an increase in consumption of foods and beverages that are low-sugar, sugar-free or that have sugar substitutes, The NPD Group said.

"There’s little doubt that Americans right now are increasingly concerned about sugar consumption," said Harry Balzer, vice-president of The NPD Group. "But we’ve been here before. Back in the 1980s, nearly 60% of Americans expressed concern about the sugar they were consuming, before declining back during the early 1990s. I suspect we’ll see the same trend during the next 10 years."

Almost 7 out of 10 adults said they would like to cut down or avoid sugar completely, and about 4 out of 10 adults said they check food labels regularly for sugar, according to NPD’s Dieting Monitor service.

With the focus on cutting back sugar, there has been an increase in consumption of foods and beverages that are low-sugar, sugar-free or contain sugar substitutes. 20% of Americans ate a low-sugar/sugar-free/artificially sweetened food item at least once in a two-week period during the year ended November 2006. This was up from 14% in 2001. Sugar substitutes in beverages also is increasing with more than 10% of coffee drinks having sugar substitutes in 2006, which was up from 8% in 1997. Additionally, consumption of sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drinks is decreasing, but consumption of diet soft drinks remains steady.

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