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Consumer Behaviour – Sugar Free Sweeteners

INDEX OF CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION II. NEED FOR THE STUDY III. OBJECTIVES IV. OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS V. SAMPLING DESIGN VI. QUESTIONNAIRE VII. ANALYSIS AND GRAPHS VIII. CONCLUSION INTRODUCTION With growing awareness of the link between diet and health and the increasing publicity being given to the problem of obesity, consumer concern over sugar levels in the diet is propelling a worldwide trend towards cutting down on sugar. The world is turning, instead, to artificial sweeteners and substitutes.

The market for sugar substitutes is being fuelled globally by new-age beverages, dairy products, salad dressings and snack foods at one end and diabetic specific consumables at the other end. India is the second largest producer of sugar and its largest consumer in the world – much of it being used in sweetmeats. But increasingly, the massive consumption of sugar-based products is being associated not only with diabetes – India has the dubious distinction of being called the diabetic capital of the world – but also with obesity and heart diseases. Marketers see Sugar substitutes as a window of opportunity.

While the country’s sugar confectionery market is estimated to be on the higher side f a whopping 2,200 Crore, the size of the sugar substitute category, as per ORG retail audit, is merely half a percent of this close to 110 Crore, limited largely to urban centres. However, the annual growing rate of sugar substitutes or artificial sweeteners is about 15-20% and this is likely to pick pace by every passing year. The sugar-free sweetener sachets, once visible only at high-end restaurant tables, have now penetrated into drawing rooms and office tables.

Among the sugar substitute products currently scattered in India, Zydus Calida’s umbrella brand Sugar Free owns 70% of the market share. Launched in 1988, Sugar Free was the first aspartame-based sugar substitute in the country. It was initially positioned for diabetic or overweight consumers. Today, however, such products are being used by fitness conscious consumers and have attained a distinctive position in the wellness and fitness space. The market is expected to witness an aggressive competition in the years to come. Uses for artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are attractive alternatives to sugar because they add virtually no calories to your diet. In addition, you need only a fraction compared with the amount of regular sugar you would normally use for sweetness. Artificial sweeteners are widely used in processed products, including tabletop sweeteners, baked goods, soft drinks, powdered drink mixes, candy, puddings, canned foods, jams and jellies, dairy products, and scores of other foods and beverages. Artificial sweeteners are also popular for home use.

Some can even be used in baking or cooking. Certain recipes may need modification, though, because artificial sweeteners provide no bulk or volume, as does sugar. Possible health benefits of artificial sweeteners * Weight control. One of the most appealing aspects of artificial sweeteners is that they are non-nutritive — they have virtually no calories. * Diabetes. Artificial sweeteners may be a good alternative to sugar if you have diabetes. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners generally don’t raise blood sugar levels because they are not carbohydrates. Dental cavities. Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners don’t contribute to tooth decay. Possible health concerns with artificial sweeteners Artificial sweeteners have been the subject of intense scrutiny for decades. Critics of artificial sweeteners say that they cause a variety of health problems, including cancer. But according to the National Cancer Institute and other health agencies, there’s no sound scientific evidence that any of the artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer or other serious health problems.

And numerous research studies confirm that artificial sweeteners are generally safe in limited quantities, even for pregnant women. Artificial sweeteners are regulated by the FDA as food additives. They must be reviewed and approved by the FDA before being made available for sale. NEED FOR STUDY In a country like India, where globalization has caused exposure to a variety of ads, products and thus a ‘Westernized’ lifestyle, more and more people have become health conscious. With a market for low calorie, sugar free and so-called ‘diet’ food products growing at a rapid rate, we choose to analyze its consumers.

The market for artificial sweeteners is growing steadily over time as there is an increase in consumer base as more and more individuals are opting for a healthier lifestyle. The market for artificial sweeteners has gotten more competitive with innumerable artificial sweetener manufacturers in the market trying to tap this market at its nascent stage and make their mark. OBJECTIVES i. To analyse a nascent market of artificial sweeteners ii. To determine the reasons behind the consumption of artificial sweeteners by an individual. iii.

To determine the factors and motives that contribute towards the purchase and consumption of artificial sweeteners by an individual. iv. To find out brand awareness and perceived quality of artificial sweeteners by an individual. v. To make an inference derived from the study of the artificial sweetener market. OPERATIONAL DEFINITION What are sugar sweeteners? Sugar substitutes are loosely considered any sweetener that you use instead of regular table sugar (sucrose). Artificial sweeteners are just one type of sugar substitute. Some sugar substitutes, such as aspartame, are promoted because they add virtually no calories to your diet.

Newer sugar substitutes, including stevia and agave nectar, claim to be lower calorie, tastier and healthier options. Some manufacturers call their sweeteners “natural”, even though they’re processed or refined, as is the case with stevia preparations. And some artificial sweeteners are derived from naturally occurring substances — Sucralose comes from sugar, for example. Sometimes sugar substitutes are categorized by whether or not they contain calories. Artificial sweeteners Artificial sweeteners are synthetic sugar substitutes but may be derived from naturally occurring substances, including herbs or sugar itself.

Artificial sweeteners are also known as intense sweeteners because they are many times sweeter than regular sugar. Artificial sweeteners currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are: * Acesulfame potassium (Sunett, Sweet One) * Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet) * Neotame * Saccharin (SugarTwin, Sweet’N Low) * Sucralose (Splenda) FDA approval is being sought for other artificial sweeteners SAMPLING DESIGN UNIVERSE: People in the age group of 20 to 45 years SAMPLE SIZE: 50 SAMPLING FRAME: The universe for this survey consists of consumers of Artificial Sweeteners. SAMPLING TECHNIQUE:

Probability method wherein an equal opportunity was given to all. A Stratified Random Sampling Technique was employed wherein after making the groups mentioned above, people were chosen randomly for the survey wherein they were asked to fill in a questionnaire consisting of 21 questions. These questions were mostly close ended multiple choice questions:- i. Single response ii. Multiple response QUESTIONNAIRE Name : ____________________________ age : ________ yrs. Gender : male / female weight : ________ kgs. Contact no. : __________________________

Household Income (per annum): a) 1 lakh or less b) 1-2 lakh c) 2-4 lakh d) 4-6 lakh e) Above 6 lakh (Please note : the above given information will be kept confidential and will be utilised for study purpose alone) (Artificial sweeteners refers to: sugar free , equal and other products which claim to be sugar free) (Tick on the answers which are most appropriate according to you) Q. 1) Do you use artificial sweeteners? (Artificial sweeteners refers to substitutes of sugar) a) Yes b) No If yes kindly mention which is your preferred brand of artificial sweeteners? Ans. ______________________ Q. 2) In what form do you consume artificial sweeteners? a) Powdered b) Tablets c) Liquid d) In prepared food products/beverages Q. 3) Since how long have you been consuming / purchasing artificial sweeteners? a) 1 month b) 4 – 6 months c) a year d) 2 – and more years Q. 4) How often do you use artificial sweeteners? a) Daily use (like teas, coffees. other beverages) b) Sweets and desserts ————————————————- c) Others please specify: Q. 5) How often do you purchase artificial sweeteners? a) Weekly b) Biweekly c) Monthly d) Occasionally Q. ) What are the sources that advised or suggested the use of artificial sweeteners? a) Friend / family / colleague b) Health blog c) Newspapers / magazines d) Advertising e) Doctors / dieticians f) Others please specify: _____________________________________________________ Q. 7) On a scale of 1 to 10 rates how beneficial health wise is the use of artificial sweetener in comparison of sugar ? ( 1 being the least beneficial while 10 being extremely beneficial ) Ans : __________ Q. 8) Reasons for using artificial sweeteners instead of regular sugar : a) To achieve an overall healthy lifestyle ) Weight loss c) Diabetes or any other medical condition d) Precaution against diabetes e) Dental Care f) Other reasons please specify: ____________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Q. 9) Has there been a significant change in your well being after switching to artificial sweeteners? a) Yes b) No Q. 10) Which other health maintenance activities do you indulge in? a) Regular exercise b) Yoga c) Gymming d) Diet plans (recommended) e) Self made diet plans f) None Q. 11) How many hours do you exercise a week? ) less than 6 hours b) 6 – 10 hours c) 10 – 15 hours d) Occasional walks Q. 12) Do you think the high cost of the sweeteners is worth the supposedly increased health benefits? a) Yes b) No Q. 13) Have you noticed a significant difference in terms of taste on using sweeteners as compared to sugar? a) They taste sweeter b) They taste the same c) They have a weird / unusual taste d) They taste less Sweet e) There is no significant difference Q. 14) Do you buy sugar free sweeteners/products after checking for a specific ingredient and its presence/absence? ) Yes b) No If yes then kindly mention your reasons to do so: ____________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Q. 15) Do you consume other readymade sugar free food products like : Sugar free brownies , sugar free ice- creams, Diet beverages , etc? a) Yes b) No Q. 16) Have you noticed any significant difference in sweets / desserts made with the help of artificial sweeteners? a) Sweets / deserts are lighter? b) Guilt – free indulgence c) They are tastier d) No difference e) Can’t say ) Other ________________________________________________________ Q. 17) Do you substitute artificial sweeteners with sugar in case of exhaustion or unavailability of sugar free? a) Sometimes b) Yes c) No Q. 18) Do you insist on consuming sugar free food / beverages even when you are dining out or travelling? a) Yes b) No c) Depends on availability d) Occasionally Q. 19) Does the usage of Sweeteners compromise on the sweetness for Low Calorie Value? a) Yes b) No Kindly mention your Reasons for selecting the above ___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ Q. 20) Do you recommend Sugar Free Sweeteners to your friends/family? a) Yes b) No Kindly mention your Reasons for selecting the above ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Q. 21) Do you believe that there are adverse effects of consuming artificial sweeteners? a) Yes b) No Kindly mention the reasons for you to believe/not believe the above: ____________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________

Remarks/Comments : ____________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ ________ Thank you GRAPHS i. Age : Mean Age – 31. 8 Median Age – 28 ii. Weight : Mean Weight – 65. 4 Median Weight – 64 Male| | 19| 38%| Female| | 31| 62%| iii. Gender Although the above graph is not conclusive proof , we can say with conviction that, in india it is the woman of the house who makes the decisions regarding household groceries and crucial diet choices made for the well being of the family. Hence targeting women would prove more effective. Rs. lakh or less| | 1| 2%| Rs. 1-2 lakhs| | 3| 6%| Rs. 2-4 lakhs| | 13| 26%| Rs. 4-6 lakhs| | 12| 24%| More than Rs. 6 lakh| | 21| 42%| iv. Household Income On an average sugar substitutes in India are priced above Rs. 300/- being significantly more expensive in comparison to regular mill sugar. Understandably a higher percentage of our sample belonged to higher income groups. Another conjecture is that, only when a household can comfortably meet all their needs, do factors like health-consciousness and awareness step in. Hence, households with higher income is an attractive target group. Yes| | 50| 100%| No| | 0| 0%| . Do you use artificial sweeteners? (Artificial sweeteners refers to substitutes of sugar) Respondents were all current users of sweeteners. vi. Brand Preference Sugar Free and its various brand extensions (i. e. Sugar Free D’Lite, Sugar Free Natura, Sugar Free Gold) clearly have a first-entry advantage. Equal comes a close second. However, the product category is till is in a very nascent stage and brand loyalty has not yet been established in any significant manner. The potential in this untapped market, thus, is very large. | vi. In what form do you consume artificial sweeteners? Powdered| | 20| 40%|

Tablets| | 34| 68%| Liquid| | 1| 2%| In prepared food products/beverages| | 4| 8%| Other| | 0| 0%| (People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100) It is evident from the above graph that, Sugar-free sweeteners are most popular in the Tablet form, possibly owing to ease of use (measured dosage) and portability. As a matter of fact, the tablet form was how sugar substitutes were introduced in the Indian Market. 1 month| | 1| 2%| 4-6 months| | 15| 30%| 1 year| | 18| 36%| 2 years and more| | 16| 32%| vii. Since how long have you been consuming / purchasing artificial sweeteners?

Daily (in tea, coffee and other beverages)| | 38| 76%| Sweets and desserts| | 11| 22%| Other| | 5| 10%| viii. How often do you use Sweeteners? (People may select more than one checkboxes, so percentage may add up to more than 100). Majority of the sample size used Sweeteners for Daily use, i. e. for Tea, Coffee and other beverages. Weekly| | 1| 2%| Bi-Weekly (Once in two weeks)| | 5| 10%| Monthly| | 33| 66%| Occasionally| | 11| 22%| ix. How often do you purchase Sweeteners? People generally shop for Sweeteners once a month, which is reflective of consumer culture of India to shop in bulk for the month.

Family/ Friend/ Colleague| | 9| 18%| Newspapers/Magazines| | 9| 18%| Advertisements| | 16| 32%| Doctor/Dietician| | 18| 36%| Health Blog/Website| | 5| 10%| Other| | 2| 4%| x. What are the sources that advised or suggested the use of artificial sweeteners? (People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%). Advertising using popular icons and Bollywood stars probably induced trial of the product in most cases. Also, it is evident that a Doctor or Dietician’s advice is most influential. Therefore, Marketing activities may be targeted at Doctors and Dieticians so that they may recommend use. i. Has there been a significant change in your well being after switching to artificial sweeteners? Yes| | 17| 34%| No| | 33| 66%| A majority of the respondents have yet not experienced the health benefits as they have not been using it for a long period of time , perhaps it can also be that the advertisements so far have also not focused on the overall well being. xii. On a scale of 1 to 10 rates how beneficial health wise is the use of artificial sweetener in comparison to sugar? 1| | 0| 0%| 2| | 0| 0%| 3| | 0| 0%| 4| | 2| 4%| 5| | 14| 28%| 6| | 16| 32%| 7| | 13| 26%| 8| | 4| 8%| | | 1| 2%| 10| | 0| 0%| The response is concentrated on the 5 to 7 range on the scale. The respondents are thus, unsure and ambiguous about the exact benefits to overall health. While the survey was being taken, we also noticed that lower calories was the most prominent, if not only, perceived product benefit. To achieve an overall healthy lifestyle| | 22| 44%| Weight loss| | 14| 28%| Diabetes or any other medical condition| | 6| 12%| Precaution against diabetes| | 10| 20%| Dental Care| | 0| 0%| Other| | 5| 10%| xiii. Reasons for using artificial sweeteners instead of regular sugar :

The above graph is a testimony to the growing health consciousness among urban upper middle class. Lifestyle diseases are also contributing to the increase in usage of supplementary / substitute foods. xiv. Which other health maintenance activities do you indulge in? Regular Exercise (Walks, Jogs, etc. )| | 21| 42%| Yoga| | 7| 14%| Gymming| | 13| 26%| Diet plans (recommended by Doctor or Dietician)| | 5| 10%| Self-made Diet plans| | 11| 22%| None| | 7| 14%| (People may select more than one checkbox, so percentages may add up to more than 100%. ) Less than 6 hours| | 14| 28%| 6-10 hours| | 15| 30%| 0-15 hours| | 6| 12%| Occasional walks| | 12| 24%| xv. How many hours do you exercise a week? The results above resonate with the need to maintain an overall healthy lifestlyle. Using sugar substitutes is not exclusive in that sense but is performed in conjunction with other health maintenance activities. xvi. Do you think the high cost of the sweeteners is worth the supposedly increased health benefits? Yes| | 27| 54%| No| | 23| 46%| Respondents do not necessarily equate high cost with health benefits. Advertising and marketing activities in the future should aim to bridge this gap in perception.

Yes| | 5| 10%| No| | 45| 90%| xvii. Do you buy sugar free sweeteners/products after checking for a specific ingredient and its presence/absence? This is possibly due to low awareness about ingredients, chemical contents or their effect on the body. xviii. Do you consume other readymade sugar free food products like : Sugar free brownies , sugar free ice- creams, Diet beverages , etc? Yes| | 30| 60%| No| | 20| 40%| Sweets/desserts are lighter| | 3| 6%| Guilt-free indulgence| | 17| 34%| They are tastier| | 0| 0%| No difference| | 12| 24%| Can’t say| | 15| 30%| Other| | 3| 6%| xix.

Have you noticed any significant difference in sweets / desserts made with the help of artificial sweeteners? Most respondents consume ‘Sugar free’ desserts and other products because they perceive it as indulgence without the guilt of having consumed calories. Most do not mind the difference in taste because they are ready to compromise on the some of the sweetness for the consolation of having had something sweet without the calorie-heavy tag. Sometimes| | 22| 44%| Yes, always| | 18| 36%| No, never| | 10| 20%| xx. Do you substitute artificial sweeteners with sugar in case of exhaustion or unavailability of sugar free?

The habit is not that rigid and respondents seemed were not too hesitant or unwilling to substitute if the need arose. That, however, may be changed in the future as the market matures. Yes| | 7| 14%| No| | 16| 32%| Depends on availability| | 23| 46%| Occasionally| | 4| 8%| xxi. Do you insist on consuming sugar free food / beverages even when you are dining out or travelling? Yes| | 26| 52%| No| | 24| 48%| xxii. Does the usage of Sweeteners compromise on the sweetness for low calorie value? Many respondents commented that they do not mind the opportunity cost of sweetness and said the less sweetness was ‘worth’ the lesser calories.

Yes| | 31| 62%| No| | 19| 38%| xxiii. Do you recommend Sugar Free Sweeteners to your friends/family? The respondents who recommend it to their friends/family do so to encourage them to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The ones that do not recommend either don’t perceive their family/friends to be health conscious or believe there are side effects. Yes| | 21| 42%| No| | 29| 58%| xxiv. Do you believe that there are adverse effects of consuming artificial sweeteners? Low awareness could be attributed to the belief that there being no side effects.

The respondents that did state side effects also said they could not articulate/ or be completely sure of the side effects, nor did they believe them to be extremely harmful or significant enough to make them change the habit. They had vaguely heard or read about them. Many stated that moderate amounts of sweetener was not capable of causing very serious harm. CONCLUSION I. AGE : In a sample size of 50 consisting of correspondents in the age group ranging from 20-45 years of age ,the mean,median is towards the lower limit indicating that people in their twenties and early thirties are most conscious about their lifestyle and diet choices.

They are also more likely to take sweeteners as a preventive measure to avoid future chronic illnesses like diabetes,obesity,etc. These are also the people with a higher propensity to spend, despite higher costs of sweeteners. Another age group of high usage is the forties as this is when health concerns start manifesting themselves. This age group also faces rising health costs and onset of chronic lifestyle diseases. II. SEC GRID : The income group of 6 lakhs and above are the ones who are more suitable target because of their lifestyle and high standard of living as well as the high cost of sweeteners.

Lower income groups cannot be targeted as cost effectiveness is their first priority and health consciousness is existent , but is not a motivating factor in purchase. However, aspirational value may also be created if the bottom parts of the income pyramid are to be targeted. III. DURATION OF USE : The market is nascent and in its fledgling stages. The users are new, having used the product for no more than 1 year. Availability and awareness maybe attributed to this trend. This means that the potential for expansion is great, as use has not been long enough to establish brand loyalty. The avenues for innovation are great. IV.

QUANTITY/FREQUENCY/ FORM OF USE : Most current users use sweeteners in tablet/powdered form almost daily in teas, coffees and other beverages. The reasons for the same are convenience and portability, one can easily pop in two tablets of sweetener or empty a satchet of sweetener into their morning or evening cup of tea/coffee. This is the form that is easy to carry in the purse or pocket. Consuming Beverages tends to become habits. Indians tend to consume beverages like tea/coffee everyday at an average of nearly twice or thrice a day. Sugar is often indispensable to these beverages and most people cannot do without sugar in their tea/coffee.

Indians are the highest consumers of sugar in the world, India is also touted to be the ‘Diabetic Capital of the World’. This implies a great growth potential for in products related to this category, as a preventive measure but also control illnesses of this nature. V. REASON FOR USE : Thanks to growing health journalism (many respondents stated they were exposed to various blogs/websites/ newspaper and magazine article) and increasing incidence of lifestyle-related chronic (often preventable) diseases, most people seek to live a healthy lifestyle.

Most respondents who consumed sweeteners did so as a part of a health regimen that included regular exercise and healthier diets. This may be indicative of the fact that reducing sugar intake is carried out together with other changes in lifestyle. Another observation is that younger age groups were the one who tended to make these changes, whereas those in the upper age limit tended to consume sweeteners, not necessarily as part of a health regime but due to diabetes (precaution and control) or similar medical conditions. Their use was exclusive in this respect.

The market may be diversified to include prepared sweets and beverages as people perceive them to be guilt free indulgence. It is an attractive sub-category, especially Indians are known to have a sweet tooth but are also becoming calorie conscious at the same time. They do not mind the taste so much if it is in return for lower calories. VI. SIDE EFFECTS AND AWARENESS : Awareness of side effects is virtually absent. Most respondents have no information or understanding of the ingredients and their possible side effects or long-term repercussions on health.

Even the ones that were remotely aware of the side effects could not pinpoint them, be completely sure of them, or deem them serious enough to cause significant damage. More importantly, side effects were not a consideration big enough to discourage use or a motivation for discontinuing use. Respondents also stated that moderate use was not capable of causing serious harm. EXPERIENCES The research, although a strenuous process, proved to be very insightful in understanding how a study is conducted and conclusions are reached.

The biggest challenge came in understanding each individual survey and then putting it together and determining the most popular tendencies and motives of the target group. We first had to research on Sugar Substitutes itself and understand the product. Then we had to put together a questionnaire that would provide us with the necessary insights. One of our main hindrance was accessing our target group as many of the sugar substitute consumers were above the required Age Group. However, with a lot of hard work and perseverance, we were able to find our targeted sample size of 50 people. .* * *