KANSAS CITY — A majority of consumers questioned by Ingredion, Inc. said the listing of added sugars on the upcoming new Nutrition Facts Label would impact their purchase decisions negatively. Ingredion gave details on its research in an Aug. 22 webinar put on by Food Business News.

Changes to the current Nutrition Facts Label include the listing of added sugars in the upcoming label set by the Food and Drug Administration. The compliance dates for the new label are Jan. 1, 2020, for manufacturers with $10 million or more in annual food sales and Jan. 1, 2021, for smaller manufacturers.

Ingredion asked consumers how the listing of added sugars would impact their purchase decisions for cookies, fruit drinks, spoon-able yogurt and snack bars. Fifty-two per cent said it would have a negative effect on their purchase of snack bars while the percentages were 53% for cookies, 71% for fruit drinks and 72% for spoon-able yogurt.

The study also asked what an acceptable amount of added sugar was per serving. The answers ranged from 5 to 10 grams for snack bars, 5 to 15 grams for cookies, 0 to 15 grams for fruit drinks and 5 to 15 grams for spoon-able yogurt.

Added sugars chart

“If you look at how many grams of sugar is generally acceptable by consumers per serving, you see anywhere from 5 to 10 to 15 grams, except for fruit drinks where consumers essentially told us they are happy to see no added sugar in a fruit drink,” said Afrouz Naeini, senior marketing manager, North America sweetness and beverage, for Ingredion, Westchester, Ill.

The F.D.A. defines “added sugars” to include sugars that either are added during the processing of foods or are packaged as such. The term includes free sugars (free mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100% fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.

The Ingredion webinar also covered ways to reduce sugar in ice cream, flavored water and nutrition bars.

New entrants have disrupted the ice cream category by emphasizing the natural traits, the high protein and the lower levels of calories and sugar in their brands, said Kurt Callaghan, marketing manager, global sweetness innovation for Ingredion. One company uses erythritol, cane sugar and stevia leaf extract to reduce calories per pint to a range of 280 to 360, which compares with 500 for an established brand. The company had sales growth of 691% in 2017 to reach $350 million.

Three challenges need to be met in sugar reduction in ice cream. Low-sugar syrup (such as 15% sugar instead of 35%), maltitol syrup and erythritol will assist in freezing and ice crystal formation, according to Ingredion. Stevia will help in achieving sweetness equivalence, and low-sugar syrup, starch and hydrocolloids may assist in texture and mouthfeel.

Ice cream chart

Cost becomes a bigger issue in flavored water.

“In beverages, sweeteners have a high cost-in-use impact,” said Akshay Anugu, Ph.D., an associate in global sweeteners research and development for Ingredion. “An expensive sweetener can increase the overall flavored water formulation cost by 150% to 200%.”

Rebaudioside M extracted from stevia leaves may help reach a sweetness equivalenced in flavored water with reduced sugar, but it costs more than other steviol glycosides. A stevia system featuring Reb M, Red D and Reb A might help alleviate costs, according to Ingredion. Natural flavors and acids may improve overall taste.

In nutrition bars with reduced sugar, low-sugar syrup and maltitol syrup will help achieve a desired texture. Stevia may provide sweetness equivalence, and erythritol and maltitol may help reduce calories.