Poor diet is the leading cause of poor health in the US. In recent years we’ve seen increased evidence of the relationship between consuming excess added sugars and chronic illness, most prominently with heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
In 2016, the FDA published revisions to the nutrition facts labels that require the disclosure of added sugars. Alongside the mandatory labeling of added sugars, the recommended limit of added sugars an individual should consume in a day was set at 50 grams, meaning no more than 10% of total calories out of the recommended 2000 calories should come from added sugars. Some may say that this 50 gram value doesn’t go far enough to warn Americans of the prevalence and risks associated with our high levels of added sugar consumption.
The National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has created the National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative (NSSRI) which sets voluntary reduction targets for salt and sugar. Although these targets are voluntary, food and beverage companies are urged to heed. In February 2021, the initiative released its targets for sugar reduction across 15 categories of food and beverage which leveraged the Label Insight food and beverage database and our extensive coverage of nutrition facts labels.
Using the Label Insight database, the NSSRI was able to use sugar density distributions to establish:
Baseline sugar content expressed as grams of sugar per 100 gram or 100 mL of the food or drink
Targets based on a 10% reduction for 2023 and a 20% reduction for 2026 for most categories
For example, Sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and energy drinks are a large contributor to added sugars in the US. The NSSRI established a baseline of 8.9 grams of sugar per 100 mL of product for these beverages and have set targets of a 10% reduction for 2023 and a 40% reduction for 2026.
The initiative complements a suite of national and local strategies to improve Americans’ diets through consumer behavior change, including but not limited to education and policy approaches.
Within the Label Insight Explore Market Navigator database, users can create customized, on-demand reports to set filters to specific categories and sugar content thresholds to see which products in their assortment may already meet the 2023 or 2026 targets and which do not. From there, they can act upon these insights to expand and optimize their assortment to meet these targets.
Interested in learning more about how these new salt and sugar targets affect your assortment? Reach out to our Subject Matter Experts for your product data audit.
Thea Bourianne, MBA, RD, LDN is a licensed and registered dietitian based in Chicago. Specializing in nutrition, US and international food regulation, and food composition makes her uniquely positioned to work strategically with global CPG and retail clients to build data-driven, customer-centric solutions. In her current role at Label Insight, a SaaS company that provides insights on food label data, Bourianne supports retailers, CPG brands, US government, technology companies, researchers, and other entities by crafting and applying high order attribution to products in-store and online. Bourianne is passionate about safe, transparent, sustainable, wholesome products and strides for best-in-class customer experiences to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Prior to working at Label Insight, Bourianne’s previous positions have included product development, commercialization, fresh and frozen food manufacturing, and regulatory affairs with companies and clients such as Taco Bell Corp., Wilton Brands, Starbucks, Ahold, Walgreens and 7-Eleven, among others.