Low-Sugar Products Market Hitting Higher Gear

For those looking to cut back on sugar, options used to be limited—and, often, not very tasty. In 2021, however, health-conscious consumers suddenly have a plethora of low-sugar items to choose from, whether it’s candy or a refreshing soda.

According to Mintel research, nearly three in five consumers are choosing low-sugar products to aid their general health. Here’s a look at recent product developments in the low-sugar space:

CONFECTIONARY

The Hershey Company entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Lily’s, the better-for-you (BFY) confectionary brand. Lily’s lineup includes low-sugar products such as dark and milk chocolate style bars, baking chips, peanut butter cups.

“Hershey is focused on developing a BFY confection portfolio that offers a variety of choices to meet the evolving needs of our consumers,” said Chuck Raup, president U.S., in a press release.

Last year, TPG Growth acquired low-sugar candies maker SmartSweets for nearly $400 million after it generated about $100 million in sales, reported Forbes. Looking to create healthier alternatives to her favorite candies, such as Skittles and Starbursts, founder Tara Bosch launched the brand in 2016 after she experimented with various gummy recipes in her kitchen. Products offered include gummy worms, peach rings, gummy bears, and more.

BEVERAGES

Low-sugar beverages that are reminiscent of classic favorites have been entering the market and capturing the attention of health-conscious consumers.

Olipop, which is backed by research partners from the likes of Purdue University and Baylor College of Medicine, defines itself as a good-for-you drink with probiotics and natural ingredients. It also only contains less than 5 grams of sugar per can.

Last year, the company raised $10 million through investors such as the Boulder Food Group to help push its campaign. Its flavors include Classic Root Beer, Orange Cream, and Vintage Cola among others.

A brand with a similar mission is Poppi, which has flavors like Classic Cola, Root Beer, and Doc Pop—all also only containing just four grams of added sugar. Several flavors even come caffeinated.

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SNACKS

A snack brand that has been popular with consumers looking to eat less sugar is HighKey. Every product—including chocolate chip cookies, cereal, crackers and baking mixes—is gluten-free and contains no more than 4 grams of net carbs per serving.

Earlier this year, the brand partnered with actor Ryan Reynolds’ marketing firm Maximum Effort which became a minority owner.

“We’re on a mission to help Americans cut sugar from their diet, but to pull it off, we need to disrupt the norm,” said co-CEO Joe Ens in a press release.

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The Food Institute