- Domino introduced Domino Golden Sugar, a less-processed option that the company said can be used to replace granulated white sugar in recipes on a cup-for-cup basis. The new product is available in the Northeast and will expand to the East Coast and Midwest in the near future, the company said in a release.
- Fewer production steps help the new product retain more of the golden color of sugarcane grown in the field, the company said. While manufacturing granulated white sugar requires taking raw sugarcane juices through seven steps, Domino Golden Sugar only needs three — clarification, crystallization and drying.
- Domino will embark on a food truck tour with the product from July to September and make stops in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston. The company touts its new product as being Non-GMO Project Verified, kosher-certified and gluten-free.
The legacy sugar brand is looking to address today's consumer trends by introducing a baking option with less processing but the same performance and taste as granulated white sugar. It's likely the new golden sugar and its signature white sugar are similar in other ways as well, although less-processed brown or golden sugar typically contains more minerals than white sugar because of its higher molasses content.
Many consumers are looking for alternatives with less processing, since many think more processed foods are less healthy and can be linked to weight gain. Consumers are also increasingly interested in products with fewer artificial ingredients and cleaner labels. With only three steps to make this sugar, shoppers might be attracted to the simple process. Given these trends, Domino could score with its new golden product if people are willing to go back to sugar.
But Domino Golden Sugar is still made from cane sugar and therefore presents less positive effects consumers are concerned about — including high calories, diabetes, obesity, cavities and heart problems. According to research from Innova Market Insights, half of U.S. baby boomers are limiting sugar consumption or buying more products with reduced sugar content because of health concerns. And about 40% of baby boomers are also reducing their sugar intake.
Consumers in general are trending away from sugar, with per-capita consumption of it and other caloric sweeteners declining in 2017 for the third straight year. But critics say U.S. sugar consumption is still too high. Americans typically consume more than 13% of their total daily calories from added sugars, according to the FDA.
Due to this ongoing trend, sugar producers may need to differentiate themselves with innovative products designed to attract consumers who have a sweet tooth and don't mind feeding it. Besides cane, powdered and brown sugars, Domino also makes demerara cane sugar, which is light golden from molasses and has a crunchy texture for use in baking, coffee or as a topping.
This new golden product will have competition though. One of the company's competitors, Texas-based Imperial Sugar, produces Gold 'N Natural Turbinado Sugar, which is a partially refined light brown cane sugar similar to demerara but with larger crystals. Unlike Domino's Golden Sugar, though, Imperial says its Gold 'N Natural product is considered a raw sugar since it comes from the initial crystallization of juice pressed from freshly cut sugar cane stalks. It also has more molasses than conventional sugar, so it has a golden color and molasses flavor.
Consumers may not fully understand the differences between processed, partially processed and unprocessed types of sugars, so manufacturers and retailers might want to ramp up educational efforts. That may be why Domino is doing a food truck tour later this summer. It would be smart for the company to provide sample baked goods made with the new product, which could be key in attracting indulgence-oriented consumers.