There is an endless battle between sugar and sucrose.
The controversy also exists in the raw material market of soda.
But for nearly a century, governments concerned about the population, the sugar industry, which wants to make more money, and consumers who are trying to keep healthy have mixed up and turned the balance to one end.
Like probiotics in the 1930s and multivitamins today, the sugar industry association advocates that sugar is a healthy food. After a world war, in the United States, sugar has changed from a good medicine to make people fat and sick.
At that time, the United States government was annoyed that a group of young people were dismissed because of tooth decay. So when the U.S. Department of justice sued the Sugar Industry Association for controlling market prices, the government sat back and watched. The sugar industry association lost the lawsuit and was forced to dissolve, followed by anti sugar public opinion.
The American Medical Association believes that “obesity has become the number one health problem for Americans.”. As dieting became popular in the United States, a new low calorie food and beverage industry emerged – zero calorie soda, low calorie cola and all kinds of sugar free snacks.
The sugar industry has even set up a new non-profit organization, the Sugar Research Foundation of America. This organization is dedicated to guiding the public’s understanding of sugar, funding and collating sugar related research, and finding evidence that sugar is beneficial to the human body. Growers, refineries and processors, in turn, contribute $1 million a year to support their operations.
At that time, their propaganda strategy came from two nutrition hypotheses. One is that obesity is caused by undifferentiated excess energy; The other is that hunger comes either from hypoglycemia or from the central nervous system sensing a lack of available glucose.
These two hypotheses are not supported by experimental data. But as far as publicity is concerned, it does work.
The sugar industry has not only reshaped public awareness of sugar in terms of health, but also convinced public health agencies and the federal government. This paved the way for them to make money for the next 25 years, winning the post-war market.
When low calorie drinks and foods were just emerging, in the 1960s, the American sugar industry struggled to maintain the status of sugar in healthy diet, and did not forget to attack its direct opponent, sugar substitute.
When the government and industry associations are still discussing: sugar and sugar, which is better? The sugar industry has brainwashed the public through advertising. Saccharin, for example, is a sweetener extracted from coking coal, which is not only nutritious, but also harmful to health.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing the pure food and Drug Act. The act bans the addition of dangerous preservatives to processed foods and the inclusion of addictive and unsafe ingredients in drugs.
In addition to the public relations war, the sugar industry, which has overcapacity, has publicly announced that it will continue to expand the use of sugar in the industrial market and diversify its products, such as detergents, water purifiers and tobacco industries. Secretly, the sugar industry uses evidence to drive competitors out of the market.
Over the next 10 years, sodium cyclamate was once removed from the market, and saccharin was branded as a potential carcinogen.
But once prejudice is formed, it is difficult to change, even if the evidence against it is constantly emerging, people will turn a blind eye to it. Saccharin, for example, was removed from the list of carcinogens in 2000. And we still have a dispute about saccharin.
Not only saccharin, but also other kinds of sugar substitutes are facing similar marketing difficulties. People are afraid of sweeteners made in the laboratory.
Or, as food columnist Daniel engeber says, the fear of sugar may come not from scientific evidence, but from a sense of fatalism – every happiness has its consequences.
The cost of sugar substitute is less than 10% of sucrose. According to the cost of the same sweetener to achieve the sweetness of one kilogram of sucrose, the price to sweetness ratio of sucrose is 6 yuan / kg, while the price to sweetness ratio of high power sweeteners, such as sucralose and acesulfame, is about 0.3-0.7 yuan / kg.
According to this price to sweet ratio, China consumes about 5 million tons of sugar every year, except for industrial uses such as extracting ethanol from sugar. In this part of the market directly facing consumers, sugar substitute only takes 5%, which is also a 10 billion level market.
To get rid of sucrose, sugar substitutes have to find a way to become the preferred additive for low calorie foods, especially for low calorie beverages. About 60% of the sales of high power artificial sweeteners come from beverages.
As Coca Cola’s sugary carbonated drinks become less and less marketable, it also gets a taste of sweetness from sugar substitutes.
Since 2018, Coca Cola has launched nearly ten new sugar reducing products in a row. Since the second quarter of the year, Coca Cola’s low sugar and sugar free carbonated drinks have grown by 12%. Of the 20 best-selling products in the entire product line, 18 are low sugar or sugar free.
In the past five years, this trend has also appeared in China’s beverage market. Yuanqi forest, a new consumer brand, starts the market with low sugar gas and water. When tmall 618 in 2019, its beverage sales once exceeded Nongfu Shanquan and Coca Cola. It uses sugar substitutes, such as erythritol.
The wave of low sugar upsurge raised by Yuanqi forest has driven the whole A-share market to pay attention to the concept stock of sugar substitute. In January of this year, erythritol producer Sanyuan biology is going to go on the market. Three months later, another supplier, baolingbao, once raised its trading limit for two consecutive trading days.
In the face of different levels of regulatory pressure on sugar and changes in raw material prices, Coca Cola and Yuanqi forest are also promoting the introduction of new products. Since the advent of neotame in 1993, synthetic sweeteners have developed to the sixth generation. In China, a total of 18 kinds of sugar substitutes have been approved.
In the past few years, they have explored a new way to change the structure of sugar itself. Douxmatok, an Israeli food technology company, enhances the sweetness of sugar by attaching sugar molecules to carriers of specific taste buds and reduces the sugar content of food by up to 40%.
The only good way to reduce sugar intake is to eat less sugar. But out of instinct, few people can completely refuse the sweet temptation. Sugar substitutes are solving this dilemma.
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