Harnessing Sugar Fear to Sell More Food

The food industry is busy. The fight about added sugar is over. Consumers want food with clean labels and none of the bad stuff. So industry is ready to sell a whole new wave of products with no added sugar. The food industry’s clean label movement is hitting its stride. If all goes according to plan, sugar fear will be a great way to sell more food.

Capri Sun already has ads with some scary kids demanding juice with no added sugar. (It has 20 grams of sugar from Mother Nature.)

What’s a Clean Label?

This clean label movement is industry’s answer to consumers seeking minimally processed food products. The sages of healthy eating have long been offering simple advice for deciding what’s healthy and what’s not. “Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce,” says Michael Pollan. And millennial consumers have taken that advice to heart.

So food product development experts are filling the new product pipeline with clean-label products. No added sugar. No long ingredient lists. None of the ingredients are hard to pronounce. You’ll get assurance that they’re free from the latest scary things – like gluten, GMOs, lactose, or whatever. The villains will come and go but the desire to be free from them will be a constant.

“Clean Label” is a phrase you won’t find on any products. It’s the industry’s catchphrase. You will just see the result in seductive new products.

Will Sugar Fear Bring Us Healthy Eating?

Writing in the New York Times, Aaron Carroll suggests that all this fear might prove to be unhealthy:

The effects are more insidious than any overindulgent amount of “bad food” can ever be. By fretting about food, we turn occasions for comfort and joy into sources of fear and anxiety. And when we avoid certain foods, we usually compensate by consuming too much of others

Fear of fatty foods started in the 1980s and brought us stuff like Olean potato chips and McLean hamburgers. Now, many wonderful innovations with no added sugar are coming your way.

We have nothing to fear but sugar fear.

Click here for more from the New York Times. For more on the clean label movement, click here and here.

Falling, photograph © U.S. Army / flickr

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November 6, 2017