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Crunch for sugar

The new tobacco: big take-out for sugary food-bev brands

Sugar is starting to be perceived in much the same way as smoking when it comes to health. This will have an impact on food and beverage brands with a high sugar content, reports the Financial Mail.

Sugar is starting to be perceived in much the same way as smoking when it comes to health. This will have an impact on food and beverage brands with a high sugar content, reports the Financial Mail.

Thanks to a global surge in lifestyle diseases – largely attributed to poor eating habits – sugar is under fire as the new public health enemy. In the UK, where government has placed the “obesity crisis” high on the agenda, there are moves to impose a sugar tax. The result is that brands are under increasing pressure from marketing regulations on sugary products, labelling, and pack and portion sizes. 

Damon Gameau’s documentary, That Sugar Movie, in which Gameau embarks on a 60-day diet of eating only so-called healthy options, has put the sugar issue even more firmly in the spotlight. The actor entered the early stages of fatty liver disease due to the hidden sugar found in products that are generally considered to be healthy.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has put his weight behind the fight against sugar and in addition to supporting the sugar tax he is proposing a levy for soft drinks ordered in restaurants. British supermarket chains have joined forces with Public Health England to educate consumers about making healthier food choices when shopping.

New Coke strategy

The Coca-Cola brand is facing declining consumption as consumers turn away from carbonated drinks that are seen as sugary and unhealthy,

in favour of healthier options. Coca-Cola has responded with the launch of its One Brand strategy – the biggest strategic change in the history of the company, according to the brand’s CMO, Marcos de Quinto. The campaign brings all four variants (Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life) under the Coca-Cola master brand instead of marketing them separately.

De Quinto has been quoted as saying that the challenges around the over-consumption of sugar must be tackled head-on. Via its new strategy, Coca-Cola hopes to adapt to the changing needs of consumers by making them more aware of its low- or no-calorie variants.

On the local front, retailers such as Woolworths are acknowledging that they have a role to play in educating consumers about healthy choices. The retailer has improved its labelling to ensure transparency and insists its labelling does not allow for hidden sugars as nutritional tables provide customers with the analysed sugar content of products.

Discovery Vitality’s HealthyFood benefit rewards Vitality members for making healthy food choices. Supported both by Woolworths and Pick n Pay, the programme promotes healthy eating among members via a cash-back reward system for buying certain items.

Big Take-out: Brands and retailers have little choice but to ensure that they are aware of this trend and promote transparency and education about healthier choices to their consumers.

Source: Financial Mail

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