Sugar free drinks are increasingly popular. In the period 2020-2022 in Italy, soft drinks have cut sugar by a further 13%, with a contraction of 24 thousand tonnes. An important result, which exceeds the objective set by 30%. Assobibeassociation of Confindustria which represents i producers of soft drinksand from Ministry of Health with the last Protocol signed in 2021. This milestone represents the last stage of a plan which from 2008 to today has led to a 41% cut in the sugar consumed by Italians through soft drinks.
This is what emerges from a study entitled “The soft drinks market in Italy: impact of the category on the caloric supply” conducted by Nomisma For Assobibe. The research highlights how in the period 2020-22 not only did the sales of sugar free drinks grow at the expense of sugary ones (+16%) but the offer of drinks with a lower sugar content also increased thanks to the investments made by companies producers in the reformulation of recipes (+8%). “These results are the result of a path that Assobibe member companies have undertaken for years with multiple memoranda of understanding signed with the Ministry of Health, as confirmation of the sector’s desire to contribute responsibly to counteract the effects of excessive consumption of sugars , encourage moderation and spread healthier lifestyles,” he declares Giangiacomo Pierini, president of Assobibe.
And he adds “All this has been possible through a constant reduction of the caloric footprint, the offer of alternative consumption solutions, the adoption of smaller and resealable containers and forms of self-limitation in marketing, advertising and sales in schools. Companies in the sector have worked, and continue to do so, to meet the needs of consumers who have long since made informed choices thanks to the diversified offer on the market. The 41% cut in sugar released for consumption in recent years is proof of the uselessness in Italy of resorting to an additional tax to incentivize producers to innovate recipes”. An effort that has not gone unnoticed in the eyes of consumers. According to research by Euromedia Research For Assobibe last May, in fact, 9 out of 10 Italians (87.4% of those interviewed and 72% in the 18-30 age group) declared themselves satisfied with the variety of non-alcoholic drinks on the market, over 7 out of 10 Italians were satisfied with the the offer of “zero” drinks (e.g. without sugar, caffeine, theine) which according to 64.4% of those interviewed contributed to a more conscious consumption with respect to caloric intake.
“This means that the effort made by our companies to innovate without giving up the taste of tradition that consumers like so much has been successful – he comments Pierini – But as much as companies intend to continue on the path of calorie reduction, our products are responsible for only 1% of the daily calorie intake in adults (0.6% in children). A collective effort is needed, involving all product sectors, institutions and the scientific world to take up the challenge of educating on calorie balance, moderation and active rather than sedentary lifestyles”.