Will new Sugarwise certification gain a foothold?

Dive Brief:

  • A new certification program for added sugars in foods is now available in the U.S.
  • Sugarwise claims to use groundbreaking technology to independently measure added sugar in products.
  • Products that meet this company's certification for low sugar content are awarded the right to add a Sugarwise badge or label mark to packaging.

Dive Insight:

The company, a start-up launched by UK mom Rend Platings, recently moved its headquarters to the U.S. following the Brexit vote. It bases its certification on sugar levels determined by the World Health Organization, which state that sugars should comprise just five percent of a person’s daily calorie intake. Sugarwise says products qualify for its mark when a food’s added or “free” sugars comprise no more than 5% of a food's weight, or 2.5 grams per 100 ml of a beverage. The company is billing its mark as the sugar equivalent to “fair trade” certification.  

Sugarwise will allow companies to promote their low sugar content on the package front, commonly abbreviated as PDP. The Code of Federal Regulations allows the terms “no added sugars” or “without added sugars” to be printed on packages without paying an outside firm for a new type of certification. Despite many manufacturers' desire to offer products with reduced sugar content, they might not be eager to add yet another, unfamiliar symbol to their package fronts. 

Sugar consumption in the U.S. is higher than any other industrialized nation, an average of 126 grams per day, and data about how much sugar is in a product is already on its way. New U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeling regulations announced in May change the way sugar is represented on the required Nutrition Facts Panel—largely unchanged since 1993. FDA will requires companies to separately list Added Sugars with Percent Daily Value (%DV), which is intended to help consumers make better, more informed food choices.

Labels must be compliant no later than July 26, 2018 or July 26, 2019 for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales. Even though the new requirements are years away, they have had a widespread impact across the industry. Many food labelers are evaluating their formulas and packaging to plan for compliance. 

Filed Under: Marketing