Research by Netmums and Sugarwise reveals 80% of parents regularly search for low/no sugar products for their family, yet 30% of parents can’t find these products in-store
Manufacturers of lower sugar products are routinely told by retailers refusing to list them that sugar is “not a priority”
75% of parents would be willing to spend more on low sugar/good taste foods if they were available
38% of parents say they are unable to find low/no sugar lunchbox snacks
A survey by Netmums, the leading parenting website and Sugarwise, the international authority for sugar claims on foods, has revealed 80% of parents regularly look for low or no sugar products for their family, yet 30% of parents say they are unable to find these products in store.
The research, undertaken ahead of a Westminster Sugar Summit intended to tackle the need for, and steps being taken, to open up lower sugar choices for consumers, and particularly children, has also revealed parents have most trouble finding healthy lunchbox snacks, with 38% complaining they have trouble finding low sugar options in supermarkets.
17% of parents say have been unable to find low/no sugar breakfast cereal, 15% have been unable to find low/no sugar deserts, 17% have been unable to find low/no sugar pasta sauce, and 12% have been unable to find low/no sugar baking ingredients.
Despite the lack of product availability, the Netmums/Sugarwise survey also revealed many parents would be willing to spend more on low sugar foods if they were available with 40% saying they would be happy to pay more for healthy option foods as long as the products taste good.
When asked ‘which foods would you like to see low sugar versions of at your local supermarket’, parents cited in order of preference:
1) Sweet biscuits
2) Sweetened or flavoured yogurt
3) Sweet breakfast cereal
4) Sweet cakes/pastries
5) Jams and sweet spreads
8) Ice Cream
9) Dairy desserts
Netmums Editor in chief, Anne-Marie O’Leary, said, “Childhood obesity is a national concern and Netmums users are increasingly worried about the levels of sugar consumption by children. Yet, our survey shows despite consumer demand for more low sugar formulations and the willingness to pay more if needed for low sugar options, retailers are failing to make these products available on shelf.”
Sugarwise has also revealed that manufacturers who specialise in producing lower sugar products are not being stocked around 80% of the time, despite all these manufacturers able to produce at a large-scale capacity.
Rend Platings, CEO and Founder of Sugarwise, said, “When I became a mum, I was shocked to find out my daughter was likely to live a shorter life than me, due to the excessive levels of sugar consumption. It’s no surprise consumption is so high when mums, and other shoppers, struggle to find lower sugar products on supermarket’s shelves….
“I started Sugarwise to do something about this unacceptable reality, and I’m delighted Netmums is taking up the cause to show that there is a huge demand for less sugar. The good news is we work with many manufacturers who produce biscuits, chocolates, cakes, ice creams, granola, drinks and more, that are all low in free sugars – exactly what mums and dads are looking for.
“As the international certification authority for sugar claims, we know that lower sugar manufacturers are struggling to get stocked in the major supermarkets. We have certified over 400 lower sugar products, only a fraction of which have made it onto shelf – 80% of the time they are refused listings, with sugar normally not on the retailer’s agenda. This is incomprehensible to me. And it’s a huge missed opportunity for public health.”
At the Sugar Summit Rend says:
“Today is the first meeting of a new Alliance dedicated to manufactured food and drink that is better for public health, and I am delighted to announce that the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) is the first retailer to join. The RVS is the largest retailer in the NHS with some 500 outlets including cafes and shops across hospitals in the UK and Scotland. Older people rely on prepared and convenient food often and their better health requires this to be better. The RVS have shown absolute commitment to the mission of healthier food and drink and are providing people who visit there outlets more and more of what they want. Thank you”
“The first founding members of the new International alliance are SweetLeaf Stevia Sweeteners, based in Arizona, the largest brand in the US natural foods marketplace, and the iconic Sun-Maid Growers of California, the largest producer of raisins and dried fruit in the world.
“We’d like all major retailers, manufacturers, charities, the government and other stakeholders to seize this opportunity. We’d like all retailers to make lower sugar products a priority on their shelves and give parents what they are looking for”
The Sugar Summit took place at Westminster on Wednesday 13 September at 3-6pm, chaired by Keith Vaz MP, chair of the UK APPG for Diabetes.
– Anne-Marie O’Leary, Netmums Editor in Chief
– Dr Giles Yeo, University of Cambridge obesity expert, Horizon presenter and Sugarwise Trustee
– Lord Clive Brooke, Baron of Alverthorpe House of Lords
– Dr David Unwin, Practitioner at Norwood Surgery
– Andrew Roberts, Royal Voluntary Service
– Rend Platings, CEO of Sugarwise
The Sugar Summit participants include organisations such as Nestle, McDonald’s, Jamie Oliver Food Group, Leon Restaurants, JD Wetherspoon, and Stonegate pubs, along with charity and government representatives such as Action on Sugar, Department of Health, manufacturers of lower sugar food and drink and MPs.