AB Sugar has found that many people misunderstand the outcome of reformulating a product.
The study found 56% of people expected a reduction in calories after reformulation, and did not consider that, by removing ingredients such as sugar, fat content may increase.
It also revealed that 48% of consumers were against reformulation if it would change the overall taste of a product.
Dr Julian Cooper, head of food science at AB Sugar, said: “Reformulation is not a straightforward solution to creating lower-calorie products.
“When sugar is removed or reduced in a product, in order to replicate its many properties, you will need to replace that sugar with alternative, often artificial, ingredients that you wouldn’t normally see on your kitchen shelf. And if, for example, the fat content rises as a result of reformulation, you may even see an increase in the calories you are eating per 100g.
“We are in favour of reformulation – including the removal of sugar – but only when it results in a total calorie reduction. So, it’s of upmost importance for consumers to take into consideration total calories when looking at labels, rather than just focusing on one ingredient.”
Dr Roberta Re, scientist from the nutrition department at Leatherhead Food Research, said: “It makes little sense to focus solely on one ingredient when considering how we tackle an issue like obesity. It is a very complex and multi-faceted matter. What’s more important than anything else is to help people understand how they can achieve a healthy balanced diet.”
This research comes after AB Sugar launched its new campaign, ‘Making Sense of Sugar’. It said this aimed to inform and educate people about sugar, the role it can play as part of a healthy balanced diet, and to help people to make better informed choices about what they consume.
AB sugar have produced a video as part of its Making Sense of Sugar campaign, in which Dr. Julian Cooper, head of food science at the company, and Dr. Roberta Re, scientist at Leatherhead Food Research, discuss the process of reformulation.