KANSAS CITY — Consumers are trying to get their health back on track in 2021 after COVID-19 disrupted dietary habits, according to recent research from FMCG Gurus. More than 40% of consumers say they snacked more between April and July 2020, with more than 20% paying less attention to calories, according to FMCG Gurus’ The War on Sugar in 2021 report.

Seventy-nine percent of global consumers plan to eat and drink healthier as a result of COVID-19, FMCG Gurus said, and 56% of those consumers say they will do so by reducing their sugar intake.

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) reported similar findings. In its 2021 Food & Health Survey, 72% of US consumers said they are limiting or avoiding sugar in 2021.

The organization surveyed 1,000 consumers in early May and found two-thirds are paying more attention to ingredient lists on foods and beverages than they were a year ago.

“I think that the pandemic was a wakeup call for a lot of people,” said Ali Webster, PhD, director of research and nutrition communications at IFIC. “We have definitely observed an uptick in the public's interest in taking control of their own health.”

To help consumers curb their sugar intake, packaged food manufacturers this year have invested in zero-sugar innovation ranging from beverages and beef jerky to condiments and candy.

View slideshow of new zero-sugar products.