To Examine the Barriers & Facilitators to the Use of Sweeteners & Sweetness Enhancers (S&SEs)
Given the contribution of dietary sugar in the development of obesity & cardio-metabolic disease, the European food industry is obliged to meet ambitious targets for sugar reduction across the whole diet. With current levels of sugar consumption in European adults surpassing the recommendations from WHO and national authorities, this poses a significant challenge across the food and beverage sector. Alternative forms of sweeteners, along with sweetness enhancers; provide opportunities to remove calories in the form of sugar while maintaining the appeal and commercial viability of popular products for the consumer. However, as dietary recommendations for a healthy diet do not include S&SEs, the role of such products in weight loss, weight maintenance and overall health remains unclear.
The overall objective of the SWEET project is to examine the barriers & facilitators to the use of S&SEs and the likely risks and benefits of using them to replace sugar in the diet in the context of health, obesity, safety and sustainability.
SWEET will strengthen the partnership across public and private sectors through mutual exchange of expertise. The project implementation will generate valuable quantitative and qualitative evidence with impact on health promotion, particularly combating obesity, while improving sustainable food security in the EU.
Role of ILSI Europe
ILSI Europe is involved as a dissemination partner and Innovation Manager in Work Package (WP) 6. It aims to identify and effectively engage with relevant stakeholders to understand perceptions of the role of S&SEs as part of a healthy diet and to identify barriers and factors that could facilitate increased use of S&SEs.
As leader of the ‘Innovation advisory panels’ (IAP) task, ILSI Europe organises the IAP meetings. SWEET’s full impact plan will be co-developed with stakeholders and informed by the IAP which will meet once a year to co-produce novel approaches to tackle obesity while improving sustainable food security, based on findings from previous WPs.
Publication: Making sugar sweeter
A new study undertaken as part of the SWEET Project and led by the University of Surrey, has found that thaumatin, an extract from Thaumatococcus daniellii (Td) fruit, can enhance the perceived sweetness of added sugar, allowing for up to 20% of sugar to be replaced. This could help reduce the environmental impact of sugar consumption.
5th Innovation Advisory Panel
On April 6, 2023, together with Vitagora, ILSI Europe organised the fifth and final Innovation Advisory Panel, providing an opportunity for diverse participants to share their expertise. It aimed to present the early results of the project and gather feedback on the challenges and opportunities to reach the commercial market. This workshop brought together members of the SWEET project consortium, industry colleagues, research and innovation actors, NGOs, and charities to discuss the innovation and application of sweeteners and sweetness enhancer blends.
Watch the replay:
Watch the summary: