With an eye on health, Wegmans working to cut back on sugar – Business – The Buffalo News


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Wegmans said it is not trying to dictate how people eat. Rather, it is responding to what consumers have already demonstrated they want in the products they buy.


In April, the FDA proposed updating the nutrition facts labels on processed foods to reflect a product’s added sugar content. Both the American Heart Association and the FDA have presented research showing a link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.


In 2006, after finding a link between coronary heart disease and trans fats, the FDA similarly required foodmakers to label the amount of trans fat in its products. That heightened consumer awareness influenced shoppers’ choices, which in turn led many companies to reduce their use of trans fats or cut them out completely.


When it comes to refined sugar, consumers are already headed in that direction. As the adverse health effects of too much refined sugar become more widely known – links to weight gain, diabetes, digestive problems, even cancer – shoppers have been trending away from products with too much added sugar.


The beverage industry has seen a drastic drop in carbonated soft drinks over the years, as consumers have migrated away from them in favor of bottled water and ready-to-drink teas. In 2005, sales of carbonated soft drinks stopped growing and have declined ever since.


Those losses set drink makers scrambling to switch up their portfolios, looking to add bottled water, sports drinks with natural sweeteners like Stevia, as well as mid-calorie drinks that have a blend of sugar and natural sweeteners, such as Coca-Cola Life and Pepsi True, according to John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.


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