Mintel has published 10 trends for 2017. The first trend is how sugar taxes around Europe are increasingly popular and there are results of decreasing consumptions of sugar. Mintel research reveals that sugar’s bad press is already impacting behaviour, with 63% of Polish, 63% of Spanish, 60% of Italian, 55% of French and 54% of German consumers telling us that they are already actively reducing their consumption of, or are actively avoiding sugary foods. Meanwhile, some 22% of Italian, 25% of French, 27% of Spanish, 29% of German and 30% of Polish consumers agree that artificial sweeteners (e.g. aspartame and saccharin) don’t taste as good as sugar in food or drink; and 17% of French, 23% of Italian, 25% of German, 26% of Polish and 31% of Spanish consumers have an interest in more products with natural, low-calorie sweeteners (e.g. stevia). With smaller producers exempt, this may provide opportunities for craft soft drinks producers to flourish – as Fritz-Kola and Ali Cola have done in Germany – albeit in a market without a soft drinks sugar tax. It remains to be seen what consumers respond most strongly to: price hikes or general bad press around sugar. Growing awareness of the cost of obesity to society threatens a tipping point where consumers eschew personal freedoms in favour of a sin tax, with sugar becoming “the new tobacco”.
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