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How brands are responding to the change in the sugar free landscape

A report by Viscose Closures

In a lab experiment by Dr Nicole Avena, sugar was found to be 8 times more addictive than cocaine. Lab rats were offered two bowls, one containing sugar, the other containing cocaine, and the lab rats chose sugar.

Regardless of what kind of sweeteners you eat, they should account for no more than 5% of your daily calories, and as recommended by NHS website, 30g is the maximum amount of sugar you should have in one day. One 330ml bottle of Minute Maid Orange Juice has 29g of sugar, and so it can be hard to get past breakfast without breaking this. As brands dominate the supermarket shelves, and consumers try to find the best products for themselves and their families, it can be hard to know where to turn. David Cameron, in response to Britains obesity crisis ‘has not ruled out introducing a sugar tax’ (as described in the tabloids), as he recognises the effect it has on not just diabetes but also heart disease and potentially on cancer. In light of this awareness, and shift in consumer culture we at Viscose are curious to know how the larger brands are responding.

Britvic is at the forefront and is tackling sugarfree head on
Britvic, a prominent British soft drinks producer are slashing full sugar lines from their Robinson’s fruit squash. They are aiming to remove all the calories in their new drinks by 20% by 2020 and 60% of all their innovations are low sugar or no sugar. 
We are seeing Britvic tweeting and blogging about tackling childhood obesity. They are not shying away from this huge cultural shift, taking action, and creating a brand which encourages a healthy lifestyle, symbolising vitality. Others brands also have their ears pierced. Which ones..? Tilt your glasses, it’s Friday afternoon, but don’t pour until you’ve read this through.

Here are five products which have inspired us at Viscose

Tango Orange Sugar-Free
“Zero sugar, full tang!”
The silver design for Tango Orange Sugar stands out, creating a visual difference between itself and its counterpart. By appearing different to the existing Tango cans, Tango Orange Sugar-Free only adds to the products existing shelf impact. Nice! Fresh, clear, and appetizing, this drink makes us thirsty!

Coca-Cola Life
Green, healthy looking. Coca-Cola Life uses a third less sugar than existing Coca-Colas, combined with Stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener derived from the plant species Stevia Rebaudiana, approved by European Regulations in 2011. Coca-Cola Life is stage one of Coca-Cola’s “Sugar Reduction” plans, as they set out on a mission to remove more sugar and calories from their products, whilst retaining the familiar taste which consumers associate with the Coca-Cola brand. The flavor is extremely important, and something taste buds around the globe seek, and so to create a drink which tastes just as good but is better for you is a tricky yet very important balance. Good luck Coca-Cola! We believe in you!

Schloer Light, Red and White Grape
This is another great example of how a popular drink can modify their ingredients, in response to consumers developing demands and awareness surrounding sugar. Available in ‘White Grape’ and ‘Red Grape’ this tipple is a perfect dinner party accompaniment for those not wanting to drink alcohol. Pregnant, needing to work the next day, or just not wanting to drink: whichever reason, Schloer Light is here. Schloer Light, like Coca-Cola Life, is sweetened with Stevia, and is also free from all preservatives, artificial colours and flavours. Not bad!

Belvoir Light Elderflower Pressé
This beautiful drink is made on the farms of Belvoir themselves, blended with their own lightly sparkling mineral water! Belvoir Light contains equal amounts of fresh elderflowers and real pressed lemon juice, as well as 30% less sugar, compared to Belvoir’s Original’s. If that wasn’t enough, this pressé also contains no preservatives, flavorings or anything artificial. Give us a glass of ice, lemon and spritz, and this wonderful drink would top it off nicely! Fantastic!

Firefly Peach and Green Tea by Natural Drinks
Available in a variety of flavours, with limited edition versions available also, this drink contains natural flavours only, and botanical extracts. The cost is reflective, retailing at several pounds for one bottle, so it does stretch the purse strings. The two founders of the company produced this drink due to a growing frustration over the amount of chemicals and sugar in drinks on the market. “More chemicals than a plastics factory” the boys quote on their website. This drink is aimed at those who have a busy lifestyle and fancy a drink on the go, yet don’t want to be dealing with the energy high’s and lows that sugary drinks can give. Good job boys!

Overall the consensus so far has been to either replace sugar with natural sweeteners, or find ways to reduce sugar overall within a product. If not drastically, this can be gradual so that consumers can get used to the new drinks in stages. Our taste buds are incredibly responsive, and so to eliminate sugar from all products today might cause a global energy slump… With #SugarFreeFarm currently airing on ITV we see live examples of 6 celebrities going ‘cold turkey’ as they undergo a two-week sugar detox. After several days of no sugar Jennifer Ellison needs medical attention due to severe headache, and Jane McDonald states such frustration that she wanted to “throw herself out of the window”. A recommended watch, this programme shows a shocking yet relatable insight into a growing consciousness of consumer awareness.

Naturalness appears to have become almost synonymous with healthiness and elicits trust from consumers while people tend to be more wary of artificial ingredients. A rise in awareness surrounding the volumes of sugar the nation is consuming shows a glimpse of a large problem, and so it is absolutely great to see brands turning this around, responding to consumer demand, and creating innovative options for healthy lifestyles!

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  • English
  • Modified 12 Apr 2016
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