Sugar reduction in soda
Sugar-reduction systems differ by the type of soft drink.

KANSAS CITY — Soft drink makers have reasons, including consumer surveys and citywide taxes, to reduce sugar by a larger amount in their products. To do so, they may choose from an array of ingredient options, ranging from high-intensity sweeteners to rare forms of sugar to blends. Stevia innovations are some of the newer options.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation has a ways to go to meet its sugar reduction goal. Estimated beverage calories consumed per person decreased by only 0.2% in the United States from 2014 to 2015, according to the report “Balance Calories Report on 2015 Progress” published Nov. 22, 2016, by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a group founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation.

The report describes the production innovations, marketing initiatives and distribution strategies being implemented nationally by The Coca-Cola Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo, Inc. to reach a goal of reducing beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20% from 2014 to 2025.

Keybridge L.L.C. prepared the report, which found that a 2.3% decrease in calories per 8-oz serving mostly was offset by a 2.2% increase in total beverage consumption. Declines in the consumption of low-calorie and no-calorie soft drinks also had an impact.

People are looking for lower-calorie options, according to research released Jan. 17 by Mintel. Consumers are avoiding products containing high-fructose corn syrup (50%) and sugar (47%), according to Mintel. Mintel also found consumers are avoiding products with elements described as artificial, including artificial sweeteners (43%).

New taxes are another reason to reduce sugar in soft drinks. Taxes on “sugary” beverages passed in Boulder, Colo.; San Francisco; Oakland, Calif.; and Albany, Calif.; last November.