A human understanding of the war on sugar.

Posted by Becki Arnold on the 27th July, 2018

April saw a big change in the soft drinks world as the sugar tax came into effect, meaning we are now paying more for our favourite brands OR drinking a different, lower sugar version. We’ve all seen the media stories focusing on the consternation surrounding reduced sugar versions, we love our brands and invest in them emotionally as well as economically. But what do we really think about the government introducing this levy and how is it likely to impact our behaviour?

Our perception of flavour is multisensory; being influenced by colour, texture, scent and even sound (topics explored in our most recent Brainy Bar). But with a change to formulation, some of these sensory cues, such as aroma and texture are likely to be affected, changing the product experience and perhaps overall brand experience. But without a change, could the pressure on our wallets become too great, causing people to make more difficult decisions around the products they buy and what they are willing to spend on them?

We previously found that just under half of us are concerned we eat too much sugar, and this was increasing steadily, with the younger amongst us being most worried. When specifically asking about the new tax just over half supported the idea when it was first announced in 2016, but many more believed it was the responsibility of manufacturers to reduce sugar content of food and drink. However, this should not be at the expense of taste, with 63% agreeing taste is more important than sugar content when buying treats.

Now that the sugar tax is in place, we are interested to know how these opinions have changed and whether people are drinking new versions of their drinks, or willing to pay more for higher sugar versions. Look out for the answers to these questions and more as we will be revealing the results of our latest wave of research very soon.

Meet the Author: Becki Arnold
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