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Sweetener Sales Allegedy Down, But Let Me Un-Confuse You

Posted Dec 18 2008 8:12pm

Interesting report -- but one that I feel is ultimately misleading -- about the market for sugar, sugar substitutes, table syrups, molasses and honey for in-home consumption.

The study points out that retail sales (in supermarkets and grocery chains) have fallen 14% in the past 6 years, with white granulated sugar dropping the most at 20%.  It also notes that honey and Splenda have been responsible for phenomenal growth in this area.

You'd think I'd be celebratory, right? Not so fast. Look, I'm too sick to read the entire report, but unless I overlooked something, this report does not take into account all the sweeteners slipped into our foods --- or what many call "hidden sugars." (Like the sugars you get in ketchup, cereals, salad dressings, crackers, etc.)

It also doesn't include fruit concentrates or other corn-based, highly chemically refined sweetener componnets like maltodextrin or modified corn starches. And what about all that sugar in soda and sports drinks? So when they're saying retail sales of all these sweeteners in grocery stores is down, that's not entirely true.

FYI, that when I did the math (over and over again, I might add) for my upcoming book SUGAR SHOCK!, I found that sales and consumption of refined sugars has increased -- but people have been, in fact, consuming less sucrose and more high high fructose corn syrup.

Anyhow, the report claimed that

" Americans’ changing dietary habits are the main force driving down retail sales. Concerns about obesity and diabetes may well be factors, along with a long-term decline in home baking."

Then the analysis amused me -- or dismayed me -- not sure which emotion I feel:

"Mintel’s research also makes it clear that younger consumers are less likely than older ones to engage in the time-honored practice of adding sweeteners to their foods and beverages. While trends such as these are interesting from a health perspective, they point to a time of adjustment ahead for the retail sugar and sweetener business."

"Time-honored practice of adding sweeteners" to foods? Oh, please! What an absurd, biased way to describe it!

How about more appropriately calling it a health-defying practice of adding sweeteners to foods?

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