Sweet insights: Albert Heijn’s new labels help customers reduce sugar

Sweet insights: Albert Heijn’s new labels help customers reduce sugar

In its continuing quest to make healthy eating simpler, Albert Heijn aims to remove the equivalent of 1 billion (yes, billion!) sugar cubes from its products and is helping customers make better choices with an in-store “sugar guide.” And now it has launched a new label providing better insight into added sugar in its own-brand products and started discussions with the Diabetes Fund and food industry partners to accelerate sugar reduction.

1 billion fewer sugar cubes

Putting less sugar in products sounds easier than it is. Sugar not only affects taste but structure, texture and shelf life. Albert Heijn has gradually removed a great deal of sugar from its own-brand products in recent years, testing the results with customers along the way. This year, the brand is addressing soft drinks and pasta sauces, among other items. Albert Heijn has already taken out more than 300 million sugar cubes from its products and the ambition is to remove 1 billion by the end of 2020.

New standard in transparency

Further, more consumers are consciously reducing their sugar consumption and demanding less sugar in products, and they want insight into the composition of what they eat. Based on customer research, Albert Heijn developed a new label offering much more transparency about the composition of its own-brand products. The new label not only indicates the total percentage of sugar and salt per 100 grams but the percentage of added sugar and salt. It also shows the percentage of the daily need of sugar and salt per portion and lists “e-numbers” – codes for permitted food additives in the European Union – so customers can understand them better. The first products with the new back-of-pack label hit the shelves this week, and they should be rolled out to the entire own-brand assortment over the next three years.

Albert Heijn first to join food industry sugar campaign

Albert Heijn additionally is joining the Diabetes Fund’s “The New Sweet” sugar campaign. As part of the campaign, Albert Heijn will talk about its sugar reduction initiatives, answer questions from customers about sugar, and enter into dialogue with partners and consumers to jointly make more impact.

“The Dutch eat too much sugar,” said Diabetes Fund Director Hanneke Dessing. “That has to change in order to stop the explosive growth in the number of people who are overweight and suffering from diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Supermarkets and industry play an important role in this, not only by including less sugar in their products, but by providing insight into sugar consumption and offering alternatives. We are pleased that Albert Heijn is the first partner to join this new and inspiring movement and hope many other parties will join us.”

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