Consumers Still Reach for Sweets

Shoppers crave taste and value price more than they worry about sugar.

June 29, 2021

People Reaching for Donuts

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Despite the current conversation about reducing sugar consumption, 70% of consumers prioritize taste over a product’s sugar content, and 62% of consumers say price is more important than sugar content when purchasing food or drinks, according to a new study from FONA International, which manufactures flavors for the food industry.

FONA International found that when it comes to cutting specific items from their diet, 58% of consumers are shunning carbonated soft drinks, 54% are cutting candy and 51% are avoiding baked goods.

“It is no surprise to me that consumers value taste over grams of sugar per serving. No matter what category I conduct a survey on, taste always comes to the top as a priority to consumers and ultimately what drives brand loyalty and repeat purchases,” said Pamela Oscarson, consumer insights manager, FONA International.

Half of consumers ages 24 years and older surveyed said they want to cut back on sugar consumption, an 8% increase over 2019 survey results. Only 31% of consumers ages 18 to 23 want to reduce their sugar intake, and 38% of the same age group believe that they have a healthy relationship with sugar, the survey found.

Over the past several years, consumers’ concerns about the amount of sugar they eat have grown as per capita consumption drops, with many cutting overall intake in lieu of selecting products with artificial sweeteners.

According to FONA International's research, people are using a variety of methods to cut out extra sugar from their diets: 58% are curbing carbonated soft drink intake, 54% are reducing candy intake and 51% are cutting back on baked goods. Weight loss is the main reason consumers are trimming their overall sugar consumption.