Sugar reduction guidance published

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published a reformulation guide for small and medium sized companies to help them reduce sugar in their products.

Developed by Leatherhead Food Research (LFR) for FDF, the guidance sets out the regulatory framework covering the reduction of sugars, key considerations when reducing sugars or using sugar replacers and factors affecting the consumer acceptability of sugar replacers.

The free guide covers the different challenges and opportunities in reducing sugars in the baked goods, dairy and soft drinks categories, and discusses ingredient and labelling considerations.

Sugars are an essential ingredient in many foods and drinks, typically providing multiple functions in a recipe. These functions will vary from product to product and category to category, and each be addressed when adapting a recipe. Sugars can add colour and sweetness, enhance other flavours, provide bulk and texture, as well as improve shelf-life by reducing available water and inhibiting growth of bacteria. In some products, sugars are used to improve the palatability of fibre, wholemeal or bran, for instance.

“Sugars reduction is a major focus as consumers look increasingly closely at the sugars in their diets,” said FDF director general Ian Wright, CBE.

“This presents both challenges and opportunities. Recipe changes need to pass the consumer acceptance test to be successful, lasting and beneficial to consumer health.”

Jenny Arthur, head of nutrition and product development at Leatherhead Food Research, added, “Reformulating products is a challenging task, as sugars are multifunctional ingredients delivering a variety of roles in different products.

“We hope this guide will give companies practical advice to help them create products with an overall reduction in sugars, while still delivering on taste, texture and mouthfeel.”

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