Increasing health issues are one of the major factors that encourage consumers to adopt healthy living by eating healthy foods. Additionally, the increasing urbanization has further intensified the change in lifestyles.
Diabetes, obesity, and heart stroke are major health concerns that affect people’s health to a notable extent. It becomes difficult for people with diabetes to overcome their cravings for sweets. Sugar-free products help them satiate their cravings and allow them to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, people of all age groups are increasingly trying to adopt healthy lifestyles. Elders prefer to feed healthy foods to children; therefore, they look out for healthy munching options.
In the U.S., the pandemic has encouraged people to shift toward healthy living and change their eating habits. For instance, according to the Food Information Council 2021, in 2020, 85% of Americans experienced a change in food habits, with 39% following a specific diet. Wanting to lose weight remained the top reason for a change in diet adopted by 38% of the respondents, followed by protecting long-term health conditions with 37%, and feeling better and energetic (37%) in 2021.
Thus, the rising demand for low-calorie foods, including snacks, is expected to boost the growth of the sugar-free products market. The consumption of low-calorie foods benefits health by reducing the intake of simple sugar, which is higher in calories and is potentially linked to various diseases.
The sugar-free trend showcases food categories that claim to contain no sugar, are sweetened with sugar substitutes or are naturally sweetened. Healthy snacking comprises low or no sugar snack bars and meal replacements. This gives manufacturers an opportunity to expand their product portfolio in the sugar-free market. For instance, Kibun Foods Inc. (Japan) launched its sugar-free, ready-to-eat noodles suitable for people with diabetes, celiac disease, and any kind of weight loss diet.
Clean-label is a consumer-driven movement demanding a return to real food and transparency through authenticity. It refers to using a few ingredients easily recognized by consumers, made from completely natural sources, and grown by non-GMO organic standards. Additionally, the consumer’s demand for transparency in ingredients used and the application of organic products have encouraged the application of stevia in sugar-free snacks.
Healthy sugar-free snacking also helps in protecting oral health. The low-calorie content in the sugar-free snacks prevents cavities, maintaining dental health.
Furthermore, the rising adoption of sugar substitutes by food manufacturers across the globe to offer low-calorie food products supports the demand for sugar-free snacks. For instance, in June 2021, General Mills, Inc. (U.S.) launched its Good Measure, a novel snacks brand with low-calorie ingredients. The company’s product line includes three types of bars: Almond & Dark Chocolate, Peanut & Dark Chocolate, and Blueberry and Almond. These bars are low in calories, and most of the sweetness is derived from allulose.
Therefore, the consumer’s shift toward healthy snacking provides great opportunities and thus has evolved as a sugar-free product market trend.
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