Consumers concerned about sugar in dairy products, DSM survey finds

More than half of consumers surveyed care about their sugar intake, yet many expect their consumption of sugar in dairy will increase, according to a new DSM report.

The second report in DSM's Global Insight Series, focusing on sugar reduction, looked at consumer perceptions around sugar in dairy products and revealed a disparity between health and weight concerns and consumers' buying behavior.

The report was generated from the results of an international survey conducted among more than 5,000 adults across five countries.

Although 62 percent of consumers surveyed were concerned about the sugar content in their dairy, they still preferred sugared dairy over sugar-reduced or no-added-sugar varieties.

DSM’s survey shows that 34 percent of consumers and 53 percent of their children have increased their consumption of sugared dairy products during the last three years.  Respondents living in China (49 percent adults, 68 percent children) and the U.S. (32 percent adults, 54 percent children) expect consumption to continue to increase.  

Although nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) said they care about their sugar intake in general — and 62 percent agree that its content in dairy is a concern — the consumption of sugared dairy products remains robust. However, food manufacturers could grow the sugar-reduced dairy market, which is not only driven by the World Health Organization guidelines on sugar intake but also by consumers. Eighty percent of the respondents agree that dairy foods with low or reduced sugar are better for their health.

The findings support the relevance for new product developments, as products available do not entice consumers to change their buying behavior. The report offers important insights for those working in marketing and innovation of dairy foods to see what is driving consumers regarding sugar-reduced dairy.

With additional enzymes, more of dairy's natural sweetness can be enhanced, creating a preferred sweet taste with less or no added sugar. Although it already offers a collection of lactose-free dairy enzymes, DSM  is working on a fermentative sweetener platform to bring flexible, reliable and sustainable Stevia to the food and beverage industry.

The results of the consumer survey will be highlighted during this week's IDF World Dairy Summit in Lithuania.

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