Sugar content in food is the UK’s biggest concern, research has found.

Three-quarters of people said they were buying fewer sugary products, after the survey found sugar content was shoppers’ greatest concern.

The Bridgethorne Shopper Index, a quarterly survey of shopper opinions, found that 49.2% of respondents ranked sugar as most concerning, compared to 44% for fat content and 41.6% for additives. More than a quarter (28.2%) cited the fact that sugar caused health problems as their principal concern.

John Nevens, joint managing director at Bridgethorne, said this highlighted the continued demand for lower sugar products.

He said: “Sugar is clearly the biggest concern, perhaps indicating a long-term shift in shopper and consumer behaviour and attitudes. It would appear that manufacturers and retailers are aware and have proactively addressed shoppers’ desires for clear labelling; over 73% of our respondents think that labelling is well communicated. This is further reflected by the fact that over half of our respondents, 51.6%, felt that no improvements needed to be made to food labelling.

“What is clear from The Bridgethorne Shopper Index findings is that the demand and need for lower sugar products will not subside. Long-term global macro health trends alongside revelations in the UK, such as childhood obesity, are making this a matter that neither the retailer nor the manufacturing communities can ignore. It is fast becoming an area of ‘must have’ corporate responsibility.”

The survey found that 27.6% said they were switching to lower-sugar products while 21.6% have stopped eating sugary products completely. Furthermore, 30.1% of respondents said they were buying low- or no-sugar food products.

The quarterly Shopper Index is a survey of shopper opinions from shopper and category management specialist Bridgethorne, which gauges satisfaction, loyalty and future propensity to purchase.