Kerry releases life cycle assessment of its Tastesense Sweet flavouring

The report details the potential sugar reductions, water and energy savings Kerry says could be achieved if manufacturers switched to its alternative

Kerry has released a technical report titled: “Innovative Taste for a Better Life and Planet”. The report uses life cycle assessment (LCA) to quantify the environmental and nutritional impact of the company’s Tastesense Sweet flavouring when it enables a reduction in the sugar content of foods and beverages.

Done in conjunction with a third-party sustainability consultancy, the LCA found by using the flavouring at the recommended dosage, manufacturers are able to reduce sugar usage by 30% and maintain a natural flavouring declaration. This also entailed a 30% reduction in both water usage and calories, and a 20% carbon emissions reduction, according to the report.

The report analyses the hypothetical example of applying this sugar reduction technology to all of the cola drinks purchased annually in the EU. According to Euromonitor, 8.572 billion litres of full-sugar cola are purchased annually throughout the continent. The LCA analysis found if Tastesense Sweet is applied to reduce the sugar content of all of these products by 30%, it would be equivalent to eliminating 68 billion sugar cubes, a reduction of calory intake equivalent to 1.8 trillion hours of cycling (calorie-burning), a reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to taking 29,800 cars off the road for a year, and reduction of water usage equivalent to 11 million peoples’ annual showers.

“All over the world, sugar reduction is a key focus of government policymakers and food/beverage producers, not to mention consumers seeking to improve their general health and better prepare themselves to take on COVID-19,” said Otis Curtis, Global Portfolio Director, Tastesense, Kerry. “What this life cycle assessment and analysis show is that, aside from the significant health challenges posed by excessive sugar consumption, the production of sugar exacts a large environmental toll in terms of water usage and carbon emissions. Therefore, reducing the consumption of sugar has impressive health and environmental benefits.”

The Tastesense LCA found that it takes 1,110 L of water to produce one kg of cane sugar (and 640 L in the case of beet sugar). One kg of refined cane sugar leads to emissions of 0.42 kg of CO2e, while sugar from beets emits twice as much.

There has been a marked jump in the public’s expectations around sustainable product manufacture: Innova Market Insights found in 2019 that 89% of consumers now expect companies to invest in sustainability, up more than one-third (from 65%) since 2018. Over 70% of global consumers told Nielsen in 2019 they would “definitely” or “probably” change their consumption patterns habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

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