New sweetener for British Sugar

For those sweet-toothed consumers who cannot bring themselves to give up sugar British Sugar has launched Half Spoon, a combination of sugar and artificial sweeteners.

It can be used in hot drinks and desserts or on cereals, though use in baking is not being promoted. It is said to contain half the calories of sugar. A rival product, Sucron, combines sugar with saccharine but Half Spoon uses different sweeteners which, British Sugar says, give it the taste, texture and appearance of sugar. Sold in paper bags, the product is similar in size and appearance to traditional sugar packaging.

British Sugar is hoping for annual sales of 500,000 tonnes within three years. The price will be pitched between sugar and sweeteners at 95p for a 500g bag.

The launch appears to pre-empt Tate & Lyle’s long-expected launch of Sucralose, an artificial sweetener said to be 600 times sweeter than sugar.

It comes at the same time as research from the Leatherhead Food Research Association into children’s eating habits indicates British and Italian children are much more likely than their French and German counterparts to try new food and drink products after seeing them advertised on TV. Pressure group Action and Information on Sugars says the research shows that TV advertising is persuading the younger generation into unhealthy eating habits.

However, British Sugar appears undaunted by the anti-sugar lobby and is launching another product – chocolate-flavour icing sugar.

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