The Sugar Association, Washington, DC, conducted a consumer attitude and usage study involving sweeteners in foods and beverages revealing that consumers have “significantly higher perceptions of sugar than artificial sweeteners on a number of key attributes.” The study group included a random national sample of mothers. Consumers were asked to rate both sugar and artificial sweeteners on a scale of one to 10 — one for completely disagree and 10 for completely agree.

The results support the growing consumer demand for all-natural products.According to a report from Green Money Journal, natural products generate $56.7 billion in annual sales, and the category is growing at a rate of approximately 10% per year. Retailers are launching private label natural and organic brands to take advantage of the trend.

“As consumers gravitate toward natural products, they become more aware of sweetener choices — both in foods prepared at home and in packaged goods,” said Andrew Briscoe, president, Sugar Association. “In fact, our research suggests that consumers would be more likely to purchase a product featuring a ‘sweetened with natural sugar’ logo on the package. We are clearly starting to see the tide turn both in consumers’ kitchens and in manufacturers’ R&D labs. In 2007, some manufacturers of note either reformulated or launched new products involving all-natural sugar.”