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Sugar Substitutes Category Strong in Past Year

By on April 22, 2017

With many people paying attention to how much sugar they are consuming in their diets, many consumers have changed their eating habits and are replacing the sweet taste with sugar substitutes.

According to this week’s Gaither International survey, about 20% of respondents in Puerto Rico, who have been interviewed so far in 2017, have purchased a sugar substitute brand within the past 30 days.



The overall incidence has remained the same for this category since last year, but the category has experienced an 11% drop since 2014, when the purchase incidence was 31%, Gaither reported.

This drop may be attributed to some of the health concerns surrounding these substitutes—such as weight gain, high blood sugar and high triglyceride levels—or it may be due to the “fade” of the sugar substitute trend, said Melanie Dederick, a client service associate at Gaither International.

Between [cis]genders, 53% of sugar substitute buyers are women and 47% are men. “You would think the difference between genders would be larger, but there’s only a 6-point difference between them,” Dederick said. These consumers are also older, with the vast majority pertaining to the 55-plus age segment, she added, noting that this category is over-represented in the San Juan subregion.

“This tells us that people who are buying these products are more likely to purchase with their health in mind instead of just for staying trim,” she said.

When asked where respondents have been purchasing these sugar substitutes, the top-five-mentioned channels were: big chain supermarkets with 89%, small chain supermarkets with 12%, mini markets 6%, club stores 6% and convenience stores 4%.

The top-five brands Puerto Rican consumers have been purchasing are: Splenda (52% purchase incidence), Equal (18%), Zero (10%), generic / private labels (7%), Stevia (4%) and Sucra (3%).

As for how much of this product people are consuming, 29% said they have consumed sugar substitutes in their households within in the past 30 days. Among these respondents, 38% said they consumed less than 1 sugar package (this refers to whole sugar packages not individual sugar packets), 57% said they used 1 or 2 packages and 5% said they used 3 or more in their households.

The results are from Gaither International’s Media Brand Profiles tracking survey, which interviews more than 80 people daily from among a representative sample of Puerto Rico’s population ages 12 and older.


Polling is conducted by Gaither International and results are reported exclusively by Caribbean Business.

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