QSR Magazine: Why Restaurant Operators Are Shifting Away from Sugar
QSR Magazine: Why Restaurant Operators Are Shifting Away from Sugar

More consumers are actively trying to cut back on their sugar consumption.

Consumers’ behaviors are finally catching up to their long-held attitudes about avoiding sugar, and operators are faced with the challenge of giving customers what they want while still serving tasty food.

Beating out fat for the first time in 2014, sugar is now public enemy No. 1, with 65 percent of consumers reporting they want to cut back on or eliminate it, per The NPD Group. But sugar’s move to most maligned ingredient didn’t happen overnight, says NPD food and beverage industry analyst Darren Seifer.

“It’s not like it shot up one day,” Seifer says. “What we eat all the time is culturally and habitually based. Our sweet tooth is somewhat cultural; it can change, but it will take a long time.”

The seed of understanding that sugar comprises little more than empty calories was planted back during the low-carb craze of the early 2000s, when people started to grasp the notion of good versus bad carbs. That’s also when consumers began to realize that sugars fell into the bad-carb category.

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