As sugar swap advice continues amid the obesity crisis, Mintel has revealed that 46% of Brits have been moved to monitor their intake. 

The study found that almost half of Britons had taken at least one course of action to monitor their intake over the last year. In the same period, 27% of Brits said they had checked food labels for sugar content more often than in the previous year, 26% said they had limited the amount of sugar in their diet and 25% said they had cooked from scratch to control sugar intake more often.

When asked why they had changed their behaviour, 56% cited weight management, 42% were worried about future health and 43% cited increased media coverage as to the effects of excessive sugar intake and the effects on health. Of those who had noted negative media coverage, 62% were more likely to have cut down on their sugar intake, which Mintel highlighted as a direct link between the two.

Emma Clifford, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, said: “Consumers’ attention to sugar has undoubtedly been heightened by the high-profile sugar debate during 2014, which has acted to demonise this ingredient to a certain extent.

“The fact that media coverage on sugar looks to have had a tangible impact on many consumers’ dietary habits is significant. It indicates the importance for companies or products to avoid being ‘named and shamed’ in the media for their high sugar content and the potential damage this could do.

"It also suggests that being shown in a positive light in the media – for example for leading the way with reformulations using natural sweeteners – could help to boost positive perceptions and sales.”

The majority of consumers (71%) believe the food and drink industry should be doing more to reduce the amount of sugar in products and 75% think more needs to be done to help consumers understand how much sugar they would consume when eating products.