U.S. Consumers Rely More on Sweet Stuff as Energy Source: Report

A recent report by London-based research and analysis firm Datamonitor has found that Americans’ consumption on sugar and other sweeteners as part of their total energy consumption is over twice that of the global average. Despite the health conditions linked to excessive sugar consumption, among them cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and elevated risk of heart attack and stroke, U.S. consumers derive 17.1 percent of their total energy from sugars and sweeteners, while Germany and the Netherlands, which tied for second place, come in at just 13.7 percent, according to “The Future of Sweeteners: Consumer Insight and Product Opportunities.”

“As a source of energy, our love affair with anything sweet continues, as we rely heavily on sugar and sweeteners,” noted Datamonitor consumer analyst Katrina Diamonon. “The United States is dependent upon sugar to keep going rather than more nutritious foods such as cereals. U.S. energy from cereals is less than half that of the global average.”

One reason for this may be that sugar isn’t at the top of consumers’ lists when cutting back on certain ingredients. Datamonitor’s Consumer Survey, conducted in April and May 2009, found that consumers are most influenced by products claiming to contain low or reduced fat. By contrast, low- or no-added-sugar claims are the third most influential attributes consumers seek out.

Indications are, however, that Americans are growing ever more aware of the food they ingest and have started to make more healthful choices: 51 percent of U.S. consumers employ the nutritional information on product packaging to decide which foods and drinks to buy, Datamonitor noted, adding that this number far outpaces the global average of 44 percent.
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