Consumers are increasingly ignoring products containing a lot of sugar, according to figures contained in the A-brands top 100 from market researcher IRI.
The figures show that in 2015 the turnover for Coca-Cola in supermarkets dropped by nearly 9%. Soft drink Wicky, particularly popular with school pupils, saw its turnover drop 11%, while FrieslandCampina sold €10m less dairy produce, in particular vla, a sort of runny custard.
Other companies with sugary products which saw a fall in turnover include dessert-maker Mona (-10%), Danone yoghurt (-2%), biscuit-maker Lu (-8%), syrup producer Van Gilse (-11%) and soft drink brand Fanta (-4.5%).
Despite this, the companies involved do not seem particularly concerned. ‘Our answer to this is to make products with less or no sugar, or to use smaller packaging,’ Robert Seegers from Coca-Cola told broadcaster Nos.
Astrid Bakker from FrieslandCampina said the company has been diluting the amount of sugar in its vla for the past six years. ‘If you do it in one go, consumers will not like the taste and buy another brand.’
However, companies which position themselves as having less sugar are seeing an increase in turnover. These include the mineral waters from Spa (+8.7%), the iced tea from Lipton (+4%) and Alpro (+7%), and margarine from Zonnatura (+14%).
The government’s food advisory centre Voedingscentrum says sugar reduction in products is not moving fast enough. ‘That soft drink manufacturers voluntarily agree to reduce sugar by 10% is great, but it is far too little,’ Astrid Postma told Nos.
She says consumers have a lot of power. ‘They could do a lot more complaining to manufacturers, telling them to make more sugar-free products. They could also not buy products with a lot of sugar, then things would go really fast.’
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