Application of fat replacers in dairy products to create growth opportunities

Increasing demand for fat replacer in convenience foods and beverages, as well as bakery products and potential health benefits of fat replacer, are the key growth factors defining the Fat Replacer market. Also, the increase in health awareness among urban population and changing lifestyle due to rapid urbanization are the key parameters which boost the growth of the fat replacer market.

The prominent market players are strategically focusing on the introduction of enhanced product offerings to capture the maximum market share and improve the overall profitability. Urban consumers are aware of the new products that offer several benefits are available in the market which is the major driving forces for the consumer inclination towards fat replacers. The shifting preference towards consumption of dietary products among consumers owing to rising awareness regarding the various health benefits it offers, including normalized bowel movement, reduced cholesterol levels, controlled blood sugar levels and also aiding in maintaining healthy body weight is a significant factor driving the growth of the global market.

The North America market has been estimated to dominate the fat replacer market, accounting for the maximum revenue share of the market by 2018-end. Europe and Asia-Pacific markets are expected to account for over 25.7 per cent and 21.8 per cent revenue share, respectively, of the global fat replacer market by 2028 end. Among the emerging markets, APEJ is estimated to exhibit a significant CAGR of six per cent over the forecast period of 2018-2027, followed by MEA with 4.9 per cent, and Latin America with CAGR 4.6 per cent.

To provide in-depth insights on the pattern of demand for fat replacer market, the market is segmented on the basis of ingredient type; it includes carbohydrate-based fat replacer, protein-based fat replacer, and lipid-based fat replacer. The carbohydrate-based fat replacer is expected to dominate the fat replacer market over the forecast period in terms of value, which accounted for 53.4% per cent value share in 2018.

Also, due to the increase in demand for low-calorie content foods by consumers, the prominent fat replacer vendors and distributors are strategically entering in the APAC market with an objective to target the opportunities in the region. The fat replacer market in Europe and the North American region is matured, and hence, companies are targeting emerging markets to increase their sales revenues.

North America Region Critical in the Fat Replacer Market
The North America region is estimated to account for 37.2 per cent market share in the global Fat Replacer market in 2018, and this share is expected to grow by a massive rate of 284 BPS. This highly populated continent is spearheaded by the rapid economic growth in U.S and customers in this country will continue to demand the maximum fat replacer. The market value of over US$ 1,304.9 Mn in 2027 makes North America the behemoth in the global fat replacer market.

Global Fat Replacer Market: Competition Dashboard
Fact.MR has profiled some of the most prominent companies active in the global fat replacer market such as Cargill, Incorporated, Kerry Group Plc, Archer Daniels Midland Company, Royal DSM NV, Associated British Foods Plc, Ingredion, Inc., Tate & Lyle Plc, Ashland Global Holdings, Inc., FMC Corporation, Corbion NV, and others. The key players in fat replacer market are focusing on differentiated product offerings in order to expand their customer base and to enter the new markets.

Global Fat Replacer Market: Key Insights
The fat replacer market has grown consistently at a CAGR of 5.9 per cent, and the fat replacer market has been expanding at a greater pace. The convenience food & beverages and dairy products application is optimistic about fat replacer and is boosting the market competitiveness. Also, the changing consumption trends towards healthy food products is expected to stimulate the growth of the fat replacer market.

WHO plan to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids worldwide

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released ‘Replace’, a step-by-step guide for the elimination of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the global food supply.

Eliminating trans fats is key to protecting health and saving lives: WHO estimates that every year, trans fat intake leads to more than 500,000 deaths of people from cardiovascular disease.

Industrially-produced trans fats are contained in hardened vegetable fats, such as margarine and ghee, and are often present in snack food, baked foods, and fried foods. Manufacturers  often use them as they have a longer shelf life than other fats. But healthier alternatives can be used that would not affect taste or cost of food.

“WHO calls on governments to use the REPLACE action package to eliminate industrially-produced trans-fatty acids from the food supply,”said WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Implementing the six strategic actions in the REPLACE package will help  achieve the elimination of trans fat, and represent a major victory in  the  global  fight against cardiovascular disease.”

REPLACE provides six strategic actions to ensure the prompt, complete, and sustained elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the food supply:

  • REview dietary sources of industrially-produced trans fats and the landscape for required policy change.
  • Promote the replacement of industrially-produced trans fats with healthier fats and oils.
  • Legislate or enact regulatory actions to eliminate industrially-produced trans fats.
  • Assess and monitor trans fats content in the food supply and changes in trans fat consumption in the population.
  • Create awareness of the negative health impact of trans fats among policy makers, producers, suppliers, and the public.
  • Enforce compliance of policies and regulations.

Several high-income countries have virtually eliminated industrially-produced trans fats through legally imposed limits on the amount that can be contained in packaged food. Some governments have implemented nationwide bans on partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of industrially-produced trans fats.

In Denmark, the first country to mandate restrictions on industrially-produced trans fats, the trans fat content of food products declined dramatically and cardiovascular disease deaths declined more quickly than in comparable OECD countries.

“New York City eliminated industrially-produced trans fat a decade ago, following Denmark’s lead,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies. “Trans fat is an unnecessary toxic chemical that kills, and there’s no reason people around the world should continue to be exposed.”

Action is needed in low- and middle-income countries, where controls of use of industrially-produced trans fats are often weaker, to ensure that the benefits are felt equally around the world.

Elimination of industrially-produced trans fats from the global food supply has been identified as one of the priority targets of WHO’s strategic plan, the draft 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) which will guide the work of WHO in 2019 – 2023. GPW13 is on the agenda of  the 71st World Health Assembly that will be held in Geneva on 21 – 26 May 2018. As part of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, the global community has committed to reducing premature death from noncommunicable diseases by one-third by 2030. Global elimination of industrially-produced trans fats can help achieve this goal.

Image: WHO

Viewpoints: is saturated fat really the killer it’s made out to be?

A recent editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine dismissed the widely held belief that a diet rich in saturated fats increases our risk of heart disease as “just plain wrong”. The Conversation

The authors concluded we have been concentrating on reducing one type of fat in our diet when instead we should be promoting a Mediterranean diet, exercise and reducing stress to reduce our chances of heart disease.

So, is saturated fat really the killer it’s made out to be. Or, as the editorial suggests, have we really got it all wrong?

The case for saturated fat’s role in heart disease

David Sullivan, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Sydney

According to evidence collected over more than five decades, the level of saturated fat in our diet is one of the most powerful environmental risk factors for the inflammatory process in the artery wall that leads to heart attack and stroke.

Science and medicine have never suggested saturated fat itself, for instance from a diet rich in fatty meat or processed foods, blocks your arteries (vessels that carries blood from the heart to other organs).

What we know is eating too much saturated fat raises levels of blood cholesterol, in particular the type commonly called “bad” cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL.

LDL and related particles enter the artery wall where they are chemically modified, triggering a vicious cycle of inflammation and cholesterol accumulation. It is this cycle of inflammation and cholesterol accumulation that leads to heart disease and stroke.

That’s why doctors like to keep an eye on your blood cholesterol levels, as part of assessing your risk of heart disease.

But it’s not just LDL particles that contribute to the inflammatory process; other related particles do so too. So doctors look beyond simple measures of LDL cholesterol to measure your risk. It’s better to start with your total level of blood cholesterol, then take away levels of so-called “good” cholesterol – the high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol. This gives you an idea of the level of damaging particles (or non-HDL cholesterol).

If we understand that raised blood cholesterol levels (in particular, raised LDL) increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, then it stands to reason that reducing their levels might decrease your chances.

This is exactly what two recent studies showed. These provided the highest form of evidence in over 40,000 patients; they looked at how two cholesterol-lowering drugs significantly reduced cardiovascular events, like heart attacks and stroke.

Neither drug has anti-inflammatory effects. Instead, their success is attributed to reduced levels of harmful cholesterol-carrying particles, including LDL cholesterol.

In one study, participants swapped butter for polyunsaturated margarine as a way of reducing their saturated fat intake.

So, what role does diet play in all this? Two landmark studies in people who ate Mediterranean-style diets show what happens when you eat less saturated fat. Replacing saturated fat in the diet with foods containing healthier unsaturated fat, like the fats in nuts, extra virgin olive oil, polyunsaturated margarine – but not processed carbohydrates – reduced levels of heart attacks and premature death.

Downplaying the role of dietary saturated fat in heart disease prevents health care workers from managing cardiovascular risk using diet. Any recommendation to not be so focused on saturated fat will therefore increase population levels of blood cholesterol, increasing the need for statins and other cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Some things you should know about statins and heart disease

The implication, that one of the most thoroughly researched areas of medical science – that excess saturated fat puts you at risk of heart disease and stroke – is a hoax, misrepresents the evidence.

The case against labelling saturated fat ‘bad’

Yutang Wang, Senior Lecture at Federation University Australia

Saturated fat (for instance high in fatty meat or full-fat dairy) is thought to clog the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. But currently available evidence does not support these common beliefs.

First, let’s look at whether saturated fat really clogs the heart’s arteries leading to coronary atherosclerosis (when plaque builds up inside your arteries, in time hardening and narrowing them). In a surprise finding, one study in women who had been through the menopause found a diet richer in saturated fat was linked with less, not more, progression of coronary atherosclerosis.

Second, whether eating saturated fat increases your chances of dying from heart disease. When researchers combined the results from 41 research papers published from 1981 to 2014, eating saturated fat was not linked with dying from heart related diseases, like heart attack, stroke or type 2 diabetes.

Health Check: are saturated fats good or bad?

Many of us think saturated fat is bad for us because it increases levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol or LDL in our blood. But is LDL-cholesterol really that bad?

When researchers studied all the research papers written in English that investigated the effects of LDL-cholesterol on the deaths in people over 60, they had some surprising results. In most of the papers (representing 92% of participants), LDL-cholesterol was linked with a lower death rate, and there was no link in the remaining 8% of participants.

It is not the level of LDL itself that predicts people’s risk of heart disease, but the ratio of total cholesterol and another type of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, that’s the key.

While LDL is largely responsible for delivering cholesterol to cells around the body, HDL cholesterol transports extra cholesterol back to the liver for recycling. So LDL and HDL work together to ensure cells in our body maintain the right levels of cholesterol.

Eating three eggs a day increased levels of HDL cholesterol in the short term.

A higher ratio of total cholesterol against HDL-cholesterol is commonly associated with higher incidence of heart disease because a higher ratio reflects that more cholesterol will be deposited into the blood vessel and less will be removed from it.

But when we eat saturated fat, both LDL and HDL cholesterol levels increase. So, eating normal amounts of saturated fat will not tip the balance. We need saturated fat in our diet to form the building blocks for the cells in our body and to help our cells communicate with each other.

The long-term effect of eating too much cholesterol on the ratio of total against HDL cholesterol is not clear. A short-term study suggests eating moderately high levels of cholesterol may not be bad. Researchers found that eating three eggs a day (containing 640 mg cholesterol) for 12 weeks did not increase LDL-cholesterol.

Instead it significantly increased HDL-cholesterol by 20% compared to those who ate an egg substitute without cholesterol.

So, we may need to stop thinking about “bad” saturated fat and “bad” cholesterol. Rather, we should enjoy our meals containing moderate amounts of saturated fat and be physically active. That will be more effective in keeping us healthy.

David Sullivan:

The author mentions the study of progression of artery disease in women who have gone through the menopause. This shows women with the highest saturated fat intake had the lowest LDL cholesterol levels (despite taking less lipid-lowering treatment). This might be explained, as some researchers suggest, by genetic factors that allow some people to tolerate saturated fat better, leading to a lower LDL and a reduced risk of heart disease.

And rather than eating moderate amounts of saturated fat, as the author suggests, there is ample evidence for avoiding saturated and trans fats, replacing them with healthier ones and reserving saturated fats as treats.

We also differ in our opinions of the best marker of heart-disease risk that your doctor might consider when analysing blood test results.

Use of the total cholesterol to HDL ratio, as the author proposes, has declined because levels of HDL cholesterol itself may not be a marker of heart disease protection. And raising HDL has not reduced the risk of heart disease. Instead, non-HDL cholesterol has been introduced as a superior measure to LDL, as I have mentioned.

Finally, there’s confusion over how the terms cholesterol and saturated fat are used. Saturated fat is chain-shaped and consumed in much greater amounts than the ring-like cholesterol. And it’s saturated fat in the diet that’s the main determinant of cholesterol levels in the blood.

Yutang Wang:

Despite decades of research on whether eating saturated fat increases our chances of dying from heart disease, the results are not consistent. Some show eating high saturated fat is bad, whereas others do not.

For instance, as recently as 2016, a study showed higher total saturated fat intake was linked to lower levels of heart disease.

Yes, LDL cholesterol can be chemically modified and involved in the inflammation process. However, this does not mean non-modified LDL cholesterol in the blood is bad.

There is no doubt that cholesterol-lowering drugs can lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke. These drugs can decrease LDL-cholesterol. However, the beneficial effect of cholesterol-lowering drugs may be largely because of the favourable change in the balance between total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol, rather than lowering “harmful” LDL-cholesterol alone.

David Richmond Sullivan, Clinical Associate Professor, University of Sydney and Yutang Wang, Senior Lecturer, Federation University Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Top image:

Why Australian dietary recommendations on fat need to change

A recent editorial in the journal Open Heart suggests many of us have it all wrong when it comes to the balance of fats we eat.

The authors urge a return to equal amounts of specific types of fats known as omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in order to help combat global obesity.

The paper reflects a recent wave of evidence supporting a revision of guidelines around dietary fat, including in Australia.

What are dietary fats?

Fats – more correctly referred to as fatty acids – are a major dietary source of energy, along with carbohydrate and protein. Fats can be saturated or unsaturated, terms that refer to the makeup and structure of the fat molecules.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids include the groups of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. The omega-6 linoleic acid and omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid are called essential fats, as humans cannot produce them: we need to obtain these from dietary sources.

Major sources of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are seeds that are used abundantly in vegetable oils like safflower and sunflower oil. These oils are commonly used to make margarines. Processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, burgers, pizza and chips are therefore high in omega-6.

Plant sources of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid are nuts (such as walnuts), seeds (such as linseeds) and green leafy vegetables. The longer chain, more highly unsaturated omega-3s known as eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid come from algae and oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.

There is good evidence for the health benefits of monounsaturated fatty acids: these are found in olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado, and selected nuts like almonds and peanuts.

The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Excess amounts of saturated fatty acids in the diet have been associated with increased risk of clogged arteries and heart disease (although this is complicated and may depend on their source). Saturated fatty acids come primarily from red meat and processed foods, but dairy products, coconut and palm oil also contain them.

Highly processed food also contains trans fatty acids which occur as a result of the hydrogenation of vegetable oils for margarine, commercial cooking and manufacturing. This process alters the structure of the fat, and these are associated with increased risk of heart disease.

How do fats contribute to our health?

Apart from contributing energy that our bodies need to work properly, fats have numerous important health benefits including healthy skin and hair, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K), and insulation to keep us warm.

Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are important for brain development. Docosahexaenoic acid is particularly concentrated in our brains, where it has multiple important roles in healthy brain function, cognition and mental health.

Furthermore, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids produce important chemicals that reduce inflammation and blood clotting, and improve blood vessel dilation. Conversely, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids promote inflammation, clotting and constriction of blood vessels.

A diet low in omega-3 and rich in omega-6 can therefore create a range of problems, including chronic inflammation and poor blood flow. These changes are associated with chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, mental illness and dementia.

What sorts of fats do Australians eat?

In traditional societies, humans consumed a ratio of roughly 2-1:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. This came about due to diets rich in fish, plant foods and free grazing animals, and eggs from chickens that ate plants high in omega-3 fats.

In industrialised regions such as Europe and the United States, the dietary ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is very different, being closer to 16:1. In Australia it is estimated to be 8:1.

The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Therefore Australians are not meeting recommended guidelines for omega-3 intake, eating high levels of processed and takeaway foods, a lot of fatty red meat and not enough fish or vegetables.

This diet is associated with high levels of obesity and chronic disease in adult Australians.

Furthermore, one in four Australian children is overweight or obese. This age group also consumes excess saturated fat – largely through processed foods – and not enough omega-3 fats.

The recent Open Heart editorial suggests such statistics may be reflective of poor dietary policy:

It is the responsibility of the governments and international organisations to establish nutrition policies based on science and not continue along the same path of focusing exclusively on calories and energy expenditure, which have failed miserably over the past 30 years.

Confusion around dietary fat: low-fat diets

Since the 1960s there has been a focus on low-fat diets to improve health. However recently recovered documents implicate a role for sugar industry fraud in this focus. A sponsored program of research cast doubt on links between sugar and heart disease, and pointed the finger at fat instead.

There is now increasing high quality evidence that a Mediterranean-style diet high in monounsaturated fat from extra virgin olive oil is superior to a low-fat diet in preventing heart disease and reversing fatty liver, which is associated with metabolic syndrome and risk of type 2 diabetes.

Not only that, but a high fat Mediterranean diet is superior to a low-fat diet for weight loss, and particularly for long term maintenance of weight loss.

This may be at least partly because all calories are not equal: processed foods are thought to provide energy in a form that is more accessible to our bodies compared with raw or unrefined foods.

Fat is also more satiating, which may explain why a Mediterranean-style diet is more sustainable. Extra virgin olive oil is not only highly palatable, but its antioxidant properties have been associated with weight loss.

Confusion around dietary fat: polyunsaturated fatty acids

Guidelines in America and Australia recommend replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat. In practice, this translates to recommending vegetable oils and margarines instead of butter, and thus replacing saturated fat with omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Little heed is paid to dietary content of omega-3 in this approach.

However, omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are not the same. Recently uncovered data from a study conducted in Sydney in the 1960s showed that margarine containing linoleic acid (omega-6 fat) was associated with increased risk of early death.

When data across a range of studies investigating polyunsaturated fats and heart disease were re-analysed, study outcomes changed when omega-3 and omega-6 were separated rather than treated as a single factor. When separated, omega-6 was found to be a risk factor for mortality, while omega-3 was protective.

This supports good evidence linking omega-3s with heart health. Although some recently published research questions the importance of omega-3s in fish oil for prevention of heart disease, this interpretation has been professionally critiqued due to methodological flaws.

So where are we now?

Australian dietary guidelines continue to recommend low-fat diets, polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fats (without segregating omega-6 and omega-3), and no longer specifically recommend omega-3s for preventing heart disease.

Encouragingly, the recent Nutrition Australia food pyramid has incorporated some significant changes reflecting evidence around the health benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet.

These changes include the placement of vegetables, fruit and legumes at the base of the pyramid, indicating the importance of high intake of plant foods, and extra virgin olive oil is depicted as a healthy fat.

In light of current evidence and consistent with the recent editorial, Australians can improve their health and maintain a healthy weight by aiming for an equal balance of omega-6 to omega-3 intake.

The Conversation, CC BY-ND

The Conversation

Natalie Parletta (formerly Sinn), Senior Research Fellow and Dietitian/Nutritionist, University of South Australia; Barbara Meyer, Associate Professor in School of Medicine, University of Wollongong; Catherine Itsiopoulos, Head of School of Allied Health and Professor of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, La Trobe University, and Karen Murphy, Senior Research Fellow in Nutrition and Cardiovascular Disease and Accredited Practicing Dietitian, University of South Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Top Image: Shutterstock/Uber Images


Taste buds are the first line of defence against obesity says Uni study

 In a study published in the latest issue of the international journal Obesity, Deakin University sensory scientists have shown for the first time that it is possible to increase the ability of overweight/obese people to taste fat by altering their diet.

These results build on a growing body of research by Deakin’s Centre for Advanced Sensory Science that has previously identified fat as part of the tongue’s taste range (along with sweet, salt, sour, bitter and umami) and found that people who do not taste fat in food are more likely to overeat.

“It is becoming clear that our ability to taste fat is a factor in the development of obesity,” said head of the Centre, Professor Russell Keast.

“The results of this recent study, along with previous work, point to increasing fat taste sensitivity in those who are insensitive as a target for obesity treatment and prevention.”

For the current study, the scientists assessed the effect of a six week low fat or portion controlled diet on fat taste thresholds, fat perception and food preference in 53 overweight/obese people.

The participants were randomly allocated to eat either a low-fat diet (with less than 25 per cent of total kilojoules from fat) or a portion controlled diet (with 33 per cent of kilojoules from fat and designed to reduce energy intake by 25 per cent) for six weeks.

Their fat taste thresholds (the lowest fat concentration they could detect), perception of fat levels in food samples and preference for low-fat and regular fat foods were assessed before and after the diet along with height, weight, waist and hip measurements.

The scientists found that the fat taste thresholds decreased for participants on both diets, with the effect strongest for those on the low-fat diet. The ability to perceive different fat concentrations in foods increased only for those on the low-fat diet. While participants on both diets lost around the same amount of weight – 2.9 per cent weight reduction in the low-fat diet group and 2.7 per cent for the portion control group.

Dr Lisa Newman, who conducted the study for her PhD, said these results show that, through diet, it is possible to train the body to be sensitive to the taste of fat.

“This could then lead to people being less inclined to fatty foods, which in turn could impact on not only reducing weight in people already overweight or obese, but also in preventing weight gain in the first instance,” Dr Newman said.


ACCC slugs Arnott’s $51,000 for ‘misleading’ fat claims

Arnott’s has paid penalties totalling $51,000 following the issue of five infringement notices by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission relating to representations made by Arnott’s about its Shapes Light & Crispy product.  Arnott’s also provided a court enforceable undertaking to the ACCC.

The ACCC said that Arnott’s represented on the packs of four varieties of Shapes Light & Crispy and a multipack between October 2014 and July 2015 that Shapes Light & Crispy contained “75% less saturated fat” than Arnott’s’ original Shapes biscuits, when in fact it contained approximately 60 per cent less saturated fat than original Shapes.

In making the “75% less saturated fat” representation, the ACCC noted that Arnott’s was actually comparing its Shapes Light & Crispy product not to original Shapes but to potato chips cooked in 100% palm oil. This was included in a fine print disclaimer at the bottom of the packs. However, even if potato chips had been an appropriate comparison for the saturated fat content of Shapes Light & Crispy, the ACCC notes that since only around 20 per cent of potato chips sold in Australia are cooked in palm oil, the representation may still have been misleading.

“Consumers should be able to trust the claims that businesses make to sell their products. Small print disclaimers cannot correct false or misleading representations which are made in a prominent way in advertising or on packaging,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“Businesses must ensure that any comparison claims they make are accurate and based on meaningful comparisons for consumers. This is particularly the case regarding claims that involve healthier eating.”

“Truth in advertising, particularly where misleading claims are made by large businesses, is a priority enforcement area for the ACCC,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC issued the infringement notices to Arnott’s because it had reasonable grounds to believe that Arnott’s made a false or misleading representation about the composition of Shapes Light & Crispy, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law.

Arnott’s has provided a court enforceable undertaking to the ACCC that it will not engage in similar conduct for a period of three years. It will also publish a corrective notice on its website and in the nationally published Foodmagazine.

Euromonitor modelling shows Australian shift away from soft drinks

Amidst a global debate concerning the implementation of excise tax proposals on sugary beverages, Euromonitor International has employed an inductive demand model to aid in five-year forecasting. 

The model attempts to identify several measureable and statistically significant demand factors against available data for retail and on-trade beverage category sales weighted in building 2015-2019 country forecasts. 

Australia is currently in the top 10 markets for carbonates consumption in terms of per capita retail volume sold, leading Euromonitor to consider potential impact of a soft drinks tax by recording historical price increases and the effect they’ve had on Australian retail sales of carbonates. 

In a Euromonitor blog post, Howard Telford said “There is greater uncertainty over the impact of a substantial soda tax in Australia, because there is simply no precedent for a substantial price shock in the Australian retail market.”

Telford believed that the introduction of a soda tax would be accompanied by a public health debate in the media that could impact consumer attitudes towards carbonates for reasons other than price. 

Euromonitor’s data showed significant declines in full flavoured cola and wider carbonated beverages in Australia that has resulted in declining prices and a consumer migration to low calorie cola (and non-cola carbonate) alternatives. 

Consumers making well-publicised concerns about existing cola were found to be doing so independent of price considerations and motivated instead by health or taste considerations. 

Whether or not a sugar tax is implemented, the Euromonitor International data clearly showed that consumers had been rapidly changing their attitudes towards health, sugar and lifestyle choices –a move that Telford suggests means that Australian consumers may have already found an alternative to implementing a sugar tax. 


Beware the multipack: it may hinder rather than help your diet

Offering smaller portions is one way of encouraging people to eat less. But while a single, smaller portion does lead to less consumption, having multiple smaller portions on offer can encourage some people – notably the diet-conscious – to eat more.

Based on evidence that portion sizes have been growing since the 1970s, some researchers have speculated that this is the cause for obesity’s increasing prevalence. But correlation doesn’t equal causation. Since the 1970s, our lifestyles have also become very much more sedentary. The rise in obesity is probably a function of what we eat as well as how active we are.

Shrinking portion sizes

Nonetheless, controlling portion sizes can at least help. We have compelling evidence that smaller portions lead people to consume less, for instance. Encouragingly, a number of longer-term studies show that smaller portions have led people to lose weight.

The power of smaller portions has encouraged at least some public health agencies to actively promote related ideas, such as 100-calorie snacks. And a willingness by customers to choose smaller portions has encouraged food manufacturers to respond by providing them.

Coca-Cola, for instance added a 250-millilitre can to its range last year and already has 200mL mini-can multipacks. But smaller portions and multipacks are distinct packaging formats with subtle but important effects.

A number of other food companies have introduced large packs partitioned into multiple, smaller “snack-size” packs. The presumption is that partitioning a larger portion into smaller portions will encourage people to eat less in line with the portion-size effect.

But research shows providing multiple smaller packs leads to a paradoxical effect among the diet-conscious. They tend to eat more when offered multiple smaller packs.

In 2008, two independent research teams showed that when participants in lab studies were provided with multiple packs of M&Ms or cookies or chips, people who identified as diet-conscious tended to eat more than people presented with the same quantity in one single, unpartitioned pack.


Smaller packets can ‘trick’ some people into eating more. Mike Mozart/flickr, CC BY

But the results from the three studies (two from one team, one from the other) were equivocal. While partitioning reduced consumption among non-diet-conscious people across all three studies, the difference was statistically significant in just one. Partitioning also increased consumption among the diet-conscious in all three studies, but again the effect was significant in just one.

Mind what you eat

We conducted additional research replicating key elements of the previous three studies. We then combined our study with the previous published studies in a meta-analysis. This confirmed the operation of two opposing effects: partitioning reduces consumption among the non-diet-conscious, but increases consumption among the diet-conscious.

But does the effect work beyond the artificial setting of the laboratory? One striking feature of all the studies showing this contradictory partitioning effect was that participants were blind to the fact that their food consumption was being monitored. They were actively engaged in another study (completing a questionnaire, or evaluating advertisements), with the snacks being offered as an incidental treat.

To examine the importance of participant awareness, we did another study examining an additional sample of diet-conscious participants who were explicitly told they would have to provide an evaluation of the snacks afterwards. They no longer ate more.

It appears that the partitioning effect is sensitive to whether people are aware that their consumption is being monitored. This finding is consistent with a recent meta-analysis showing consumption is generally reduced when people are aware they’re participating in a food study.

Smaller portions do appear to help reduce consumption, but people who are diet-conscious, those who are watchful of their weight and what they eat, ought to be careful about multipacks containing multiple smaller portions. This packaging format seems to encourage them to eat more.

The effect of multipacks fits with other research showing the way food is presented can unconsciously affect consumption. If you serve the same amount of food on a small plate, for instance, it may look bigger and lead people to eat less. And tall, thin glasses look bigger than small, squat ones with an equivalent volume; they encourage people to serve and drink less.

The key is to trick the mind into eating less. As eating behaviour scientist Brian Wansink says in his book, Mindless Eating:

The best diet is one you don’t know you’re on.

If you are diet-conscious and intending to buy snacks, you’re better off buying large, unpartitioned packages, or a single small pack. But the best option would be not to buy the snacks at all.

The Conversation

Stephen S Holden, Honorary Associate Professor, Macquarie Graduate School of Management and Natalina Zlatevska, Assistant Professor

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

CHOICE bitter over sugar labelling confusion

CHOICE has called for the government to clearly label sugar on food products following the consumer group's finding that there are 43 different names food companies use to describe added sugars.

The call follows the recommendation from the World Health Organisation for people to limit the intake of 'free' or added sugars to be no more than 10% of a persons total energy intake in order to reduce the risk of health issues such as obesity and tooth decay.

"Some added sugars are easy to identify such as brown sugar and caster sugar but others like agave nectar, high-fructose corn syrup, rapadura and molasses are not," says CHOICE spokesperson Tom Godfrey.    
“We believe that consumers have a right to know what added sugars are in their foods but currently food companies make it very hard for us to work out.” 
“On food labels, the nutritional panel doesn’t differentiate between added sugar content and sugars that naturally occur in the product. So the only way for you to find out is by trying to identify these 40+ different names in the ingredients list.
“The fact is consumers should be able to identify which ingredients listed on food products are added sugars. We believe this could be achieved through a recommendation that is currently being reviewed by our food standards body,” says Mr Godfrey.