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Sustainability, labeling catches sugar industry eye

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Vail, Colorado. — Sustainability, front-of-pack labeling and other consumer-related issues are or will be at the forefront of the sugar industry, speaker at the 37th International Sweeteners Symposium says he said on August 2nd

Sustainability “wasn’t on the table” when the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was completed, says Dr. Courtney Gaine, president and chief executive officer of The Sugar Association. “The dialogue is getting bigger,” says the 2025 Guidelines. She pointed out that the definition of what constitutes a sustainable diet is unclear.

“It’s not as simple as carbon emissions,” she said.

Dr. Gein said the sugar industry received a “summer treat” when the World Health Organization, in its recently issued draft guidance, did not recommend non-sugar sweeteners as a way to control weight.

She also said she expects the push for front-of-package labeling on sugar and other ingredients to gain momentum. Front-of-pack labeling could be an “easy achievement” for regulators, including possible recommendations from the White House’s tentatively planned Hunger, Nutrition and Health Conference in September. there is.

Jack Bobo, head of global food and water policy at The Nature Conservancy, said several trends related to consumer behavior, including sustainability, could affect sugar. , stating that sustainability is not a passing fad, but an important trend for consumers and an important trend for the environment, it should also influence the “end result.”

“Sustainability should also be good business sense,” Bobo said.

Bobo noted that there have been improvements over the years in reducing greenhouse gases, reducing energy use, reducing erosion, reducing water use and other benefits in sustainable agricultural production. , more than 800 million people continue to go hungry, and the food system has collapsed.

“Things are getting better, but not fast enough,” Bobo said.

According to Bobo, consumers tend to think about sustainability at the local level, which can have negative impacts on the broader or global level, or only look at current conditions rather than previous conditions. .

“Local sustainability could become a global catastrophe,” he said, noting that there were trade-offs.

“Consumers have never been more concerned or ignorant about how their food is made,” Bobo said.

Bobo also noted consumer preferences for transparency, traceability and other trends, including obesity rates. He noted a shift to healthier diets while obesity rates increased.

“People know more about food than ever before and have never been so obese,” he said.

Transparency today is the same as food safety was 100 years ago, he said, suggesting that at some point consumers will “assume transparency.”

He encouraged producers and food manufacturers to “stop talking about what they are doing and why they are doing it.”

“Personalize your story,” Bobo said. “Recognize people’s concerns, connect with individuals, build trust. Then science can matter.”

Science must come after trust, not before trust, he said.

“People like to learn things. They don’t like being told things,” he said.