City, University of London looks at why food manufacturers use such large amounts of sugar
According to recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO) the intake of free sugars should be less than 10% of total daily energy intake for both adults and children and ideally less than 5%.
A new study from WHO and City, University of London found that producers of food with a high sugar content have many incentives to maintain current high levels than to reduce them. Professor Corinna Hawkes, Director of the Centre for Food Policy at City, led the research and conducted an analysis of the supply chain with a primary source of data gained from 34 interviews. These included 8 interviews with those involved in sugar production, trade and processing. 15 interviews with manufacturers of food and drinks, 9 interviews with retailers and 2 with academic experts.
Professor Hawkes and her team concluded that the main incentives for high sugar content include:
the perception that sugar is the gold standard for sweetness
sugar’s availability as a relatively cheap and abundant ingredient from multiple sources
manufacturers’ and retailers’ focus on maintaining competitiveness
manufacturers’ and retailers’ desire to maintain “choice” for consumers
sugar’s provision of essential functional qualities of manufactured foods
consumer concern about the use of artificial sweeteners