Sugar Association files citizen petition calling for clearer labelling of sweeteners13 Jul 2020
The Sugar Association has filed a US citizen petition to require manufacturers to add front-of-pack disclosures regarding the use of non-nutritive sweeteners – but sweetener suppliers say ingredient lists already give consumers clear information.
Trade group the Sugar Association filed a citizen petition to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this month requesting several changes to the country’s labelling laws.
Although manufacturers must already label any sweeteners used in food or drink products on the ingredients list, the Sugar Association argues that many consumers are unfamiliar with names such as aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, steviol glycosides, or lou han guo, also known as monk fruit. It therefore wants manufacturers to add the word ‘sweetener’ in brackets after the ingredient name.
The petition also requested that any product making a low-, no- or reduced-sugar claim must state ‘sweetened with [name of sweetener]’ beneath the sugar content claim. According to the trade group, the need for this action has become “critical” since the FDA published the new Nutrition Facts label in 2016, which required manufacturers to label the amount of added sugar. This led a sharp rise in the number of high-calorie products making misleading reduced sugar claims sugar, it said.
“We know that 67% of consumers think a product containing a ‘zero sugar’ or ‘no added sugar’ claim is healthier than the original, and 70% believe the new product has fewer calories than the original,” said Courtney Gaine, president and CEO of the Association. “However, a leading brand of peanut butter claiming to have less sugar has more calories per serving than the company’s regular peanut butter.
“In another case, a manufacturer attempts to justify a reduced sugar claim by decreasing the portion size of the lower sugar version of its regular product. It is hard to say such practices are not misleading.
The petition also urged the FDA to require manufacturers using certain sugar alcohols to warn consumers of possible gastrointestinal distress in children and adults. This disclosure is a legal requirement in the Europe Union where products that contain more than 10% polyols, such as erythritol or xylitol in chewing gum, must bear the warning ‘Excessive consumption may produce laxative effects’.
A recent 1,000-strong survey conducted by Quadrant Strategies on behalf of The Sugar Association found that only 37% of consumers were able to correctly identify sweeteners in a list of food additives.
However, the Brussels-headquartered International Sweetener Association said the legal requirement to list any sweetener on a food’s ingredient list ensured that consumers have “a clear and visible means” to see if a food contains a low or no calorie sweetener.
The Calorie Control Council, a trade association representing the low- and reduced-calorie food and beverage industry, said it was conducting a thorough review of the Sugar Association’s petition. A spokesperson said that countless health authorities have warned against health risks of excess consumption of added sugars, and that low- and no- calorie sweeteners are a safe and effective alternative to added sugars.
The FDA has 180 days to respond to the Citizen Petition. According to Burdock Group consultancy, most citizens' petitions are denied.
Is it time European policymakers define what ‘natural’ food is?
18 Jan 2021
Consumers are being misled over products that claim to be natural but contain artificial ingredients. Is it time for a legal definition?Read more
Veggie-packed food brands fill the gap between ‘plant-based’ and ‘vegetable-rich’
11 Jan 2021
Generation Z – the generation of people born between 1997 and 2012 – may be fuelling the plant-based food trend but, paradoxically, they are not eating enough plants, creating a white space for products and ready meals that put vegetables centre-stage.Read more
Halal harmonisation opens doors for food exporters
14 Dec 2020
The food industry is benefitting from steps to harmonise halal standards globally, including recent guidance for halal food additives– but more progress is required, according to a report.Read more
Immune-boosting product launches in Southeast Asia
7 Dec 2020
Chocolate snacks with adaptogenic mushroom powder, vitamin C jelly, and prebiotic-packed crackers are just some recent product launches in Southeast Asia promising to boost consumers’ immunity as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.Read more
Chinese consumers increasingly concerned about food safety
30 Nov 2020
Food safety is of growing concern for Chinese consumers and many do not fully trust on-pack claims such as organic. Supply chain certification is one way to win back trust, according to Lloyd’s Register.Read more
Cocoa fruit juice: The next big beverage ingredient?
9 Nov 2020
Cocoa fruit juice has a refreshingly sweet and sour flavour with tropical notes of lychee and peach, making it ideal for premium-positioned drinks, says Ghanaian-Swiss supplier Koa.Read more
Confidence in Europe’s CBD market high despite regulatory barriers
2 Nov 2020
Despite regulatory uncertainty, small start-ups and big businesses alike are confident about Europe’s CBD market. “Local brands [have] a great opportunity to shine,” says one company.Read more
French dairy giant Bel to launch plant-based cheese
22 Oct 2020
French dairy group Bel will launch a plant-based Boursin in the US next year as it develops vegan versions of its core brands, which include Babybel and The Laughing Cow.Read more
Can indoor vertical farming solve the Gulf’s food security challenge?
18 Oct 2020
Recent investments in vertical farms could make Gulf countries less reliant on food imports, say the companies involved.Read more
Brazilian draft law limits food colourings to ‘smallest quantities’ possible
10 Oct 2020
A Brazilian lawmaker is pushing for manufacturers to use the smallest quantities possible of food colourings for health reasons.Read more
Are you a supplier?
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation