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Increase sales…reduce the sugar??

Increase sales…reduce the sugar??

 

This one is a bit of a biggy!  Yoghurt /Yogurt whichever you spell it the little pots of dairy have far too much sugar in them and it is completely not necessary.   To cut to the chase, it bugs me that the majority of yoghurts are packaged in what I believe to be quite a misleading manner to the consumer.  When you mention yoghurt to people there is a perception that its a healthy treat, an after dinner healthy dessert to finish off with.  Its better for you than ice-cream perhaps, it’s definitely better than a slice of pie and custard and because yoghurt contains dairy it must be good for you?

In previous posts, I have discussed the lengths and breadths I have gone to in order to find a sugar free or no sugar yoghurt.  It has been nearly impossible.  That was until I came across two low sugar yoghurts, one created by Dale Farm – their Goodness range, and the other by Yoplait – their Tutti Frutti range.  Both use sweeteners and a small amount of sugar (from the fruit) to create a #lowsugar dessert.  As for the nutrient factor, they provide the calcium we need, they are low calorie, low salt, low fat, high protein so tick those boxes.

Then there are those that claim to provide ‘good bacteria’ to help our digestion and our guts.   Have a read of this article about these ‘good bacteria’ and see what you make of these bacteria for yourself…  apparently its an invented word – actiregularis – used for marketing purposes.

On that basis, I was given a bit of a mission recently – to find a healthy probiotic yoghurt with low or no sugar.  This person eats the Activia range on a regular basis due to its “actiregularis”  – but the sugar level is medium (amber light). So off I go in search of such a product.  Just for starters have a look at this image…

What are your impressions of the image below for the Danone Blueberry yoghurt?

 

For me it says it has no fat and no sugar and must be healthy for us.  The key words are ‘No Added Sugar’ – this can mislead the naive consumer who may interpret that as No sugar.   They are correct in that they have not added any additional sugar to the product the only sugar is the natural sugar that occurs probably in the blueberries used in making the yoghurt.   There is in fact 6.9g of sugar per 100g and in one wee tub 8.6g.

Other brands I surveyed in the supermarket aisle were Yeo Valley, Rachels Organic, Muller Light, Total Fage, Glenisk and Liberte.  All these brands have wonderful packaging that are eye-catching and appeal to consumers, some even go so far as portraying a natural – back to nature style, earthy, organically healthy product.  Fair play, as they are more than entitled to do that.   That said, I feel its somewhat misleading.   I understand that there are low fat people, high fibre people, low salt people, low sugar no sugar people and low calorie people, so it is difficult to please all of the people all of the time.  So lets look at the facts from the EU Regulations on food labelling … click here 

To gain a ‘Green’ traffic light, a product must be below:-

  • 3g of Fat per 100g
  • 1.5g of saturated fat per 100g
  • 5g of sugars per 100g
  • 0.3g of salt per 100g

NB: The ‘low’ rating cut off is based on the low nutrition claim for fat, total sugars, and salt in the EU Nutrition & Health Claims regulation legislation (EC) 1924/2006

So here’s the thing.  Surely to generate more sales, more food manufacturers should aim to achieve these green traffic lights to appeal to more consumers?  Or is that me being daft?   As I mentioned before, where a food product is low in fat it tends to have more sugar in it to compensate for the loss of so called ‘flavour’.   May I introduce Stevia – a natural sweetener.  It is readily available and perhaps more products could be produced with this instead?  Is this something food manufacturers could take onboard?

Sugar and its addictive nature is thankfully coming to light over here in the UK, and for the past 3 or 4 decades Fat has been the enemy.   Perhaps food manufacturers are now starting to see that Sugar is not necessary, contributes to so many illnesses and is extremely addictive.   By quitting sugar, there is a huge benefit not only to our health and well-being, but to the excessive demand on the services provided by the NHS who have had to deal with an epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and obesity related illnesses.

So, I put it out there – what can be done to reduce the sugar content in food products going forward, and are there any food manufacturers that want to attain more ‘green lights’ for their food products?  Surely if an item has 5.2g or 5.5g of sugar per 100g, then why not consider reducing the sugar by the .2g or the .5g to enable the product to gain a green light??

I wonder who will step up to the plate?

Unfortunately, I am still on the look out for a probiotic, low sugar yoghurt, so any suggestions would be warmly welcome 🙂