I know this is a bit blasphemous to say on a site called CandyIndustry.com, but over the last few months I’ve become one of the many Americans looking to cut back on my sugar. 

Hey, the confectionery industry has always preached moderation, especially through the Always A Treat initiative, and I’m just trying to practice that now. 

Overall, it’s been a bit of a hit-or-miss journey. I still opt for the full-sugar Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, but I use it on top of Halo Top ice cream, which has a reduced-sugar formula compared to other ice creams. And instead of the two full-size Snickers a day I was eating, I’m down to one fun-size bar once or twice a week. 

I’m constantly trying to determine whether a product with less sugar is worth any potential change in flavor. And most of the time I do opt for the traditional formula, just in a smaller portion size than I would have eaten before. 

And I’m not alone. A new FONA report says that people do indeed want to eat less sugar. In fact, 56 percent of consumers are eating less sugar now than they were a year ago. 

“From our research we have learned that the majority of consumers want to decrease their sugar consumption,” reads Sugar Reduction, the Voice of the Consumer, 2019 Trend Insight Report.

And here are some of the top ways consumers are going about it:

  • 73% Drinking water instead of caloric beverages
  • 57% Eliminating certain foods/beverages
  • 36% Using the Nutrition Facts Panel to choose foods/beverages with less sugar
  • 35% No longer adding table sugar to foods/beverages
  • 32% Reducing the number of calories I consume each day

When FONA asked consumers what foods and beverages are being reduced and/or eliminated from their diets since reducing their overall sugar intake, 68 percent said candy, followed by 62 percent who said carbonated soft drinks, and 56 percent who said baked goods. 

It’s hard not to think that sounds like bad news for the candy industry. 

But there is more to the story. 

“We also know that taste and price are more important than the overall grams of sugar in food and beverages,” FONA says. 

The gold standard still remains for many shoppers — they want healthier versions that taste the same or better. And that means there’s an opportunity out there for companies willing to take it on. 

“Reformulating existing products to reduce sugar while maintaining your signature taste is an opportunity to expand and retain your existing consumer base,” the report says. “If your product provides an enjoyable experience while also helping consumers achieve their health goals — you secure your spot in their pantries.”

In short, we want our sugary sweet taste, and we want to eat it too. 

For more information from FONA, contact the sales service department at (630) 578-8600 or visit fona.com.