sugar target

Sir, While no one is going to disagree about the need to reduce levels of sugar in our diets, it is my belief that food and drink brands should commit themselves to a ‘journey’ with their consumer - where marked reductions in sugar are achieved over a defined period of time, incrementally.

Making immediate, sizeable cuts could actually destroy many categories. In the case of low-fat yoghurts, for example, the removal of sugar would result in an unpleasant residue because it supports the perception of creaminess of texture that the fat used to provide.

At MMR, we work with many food and drink companies to assess that journey. For example, what would the impact of a 50% cut actually mean in terms of the consumer experience? How many incremental steps should be involved? What does too far, too fast look like?

We would always recommend that testing goes beyond the bite or sample and measures the impact of prolonged and repeated consumption.

We urge brand owners to take a holistic view when making changes - remembering that brand, pack and product all work together.

So long as brands are open and honest, there is every chance they can achieve their part in improving the health of the nation without destroying all that consumers love about their products.

Andrew Wardlaw, insight director, MMR Research Worldwide