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Sugar content and cost analysed by Euromonitor

While a lot of the anti sugar movement in the mainstream press has focused on the large amount of sugar in products, the cost of food has largely been left out, finds a new Euromonitor report.

According to the report, Sugar: The Fool Proof Target for Obesity or a Can of Worms?, part of the problem is that processed foods high in sugar are cheap. This, combined with their convenience, means such products have become an integral part of people’s diets.

Sara Petersson, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International, comments, “Sugar is a relatively cheap commodity and ingredient, which has in part ensured that high sugar products remain low in cost.

“While the amount of sugar that can be bought for $1 varies between different types of food and beverage, depending on other production costs, the average global consumer can buy 30g of sugar if they were to spend that dollar on flavoured yogurts, 58g if it were sweet biscuits, 72g on juice, 114g on juice drinks and 132g of sugar if they were to spend that dollar on carbonates.

“With so much sugar bought so easily with so little money, one could argue it is far too easy to exceed the recommended added sugar consumption.”

According to Euromonitor International, countries with a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity, have a relatively high intake in sugar from packaged food and soft drinks. This is true in both developed and emerging markets; the latter having previously been associated with malnutrition.

Petersson continues, “Since the beginning of the ‘war on sugar’, many food items typically regarded as healthy by consumers, have been criticised for their high sugar content. However, nutrition data show these typically perceived ‘healthier’ foods do not provide nearly as much sugar to the average person’s diet as foods commonly considered as ‘treats’.

“Euromonitor’s nutrition per 100g information shows that fruit snacks, for example, have a similar average sugar content to chocolate confectionery, while children’s breakfast cereals can be compared with sweet biscuits. What appears as healthier often is not. However, what really matters in the quest to reducing sugar consumption is not just the sugar content of food, but the overall sugar contribution food categories make to the average person’s diet.”

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