Lily’s Sweets CEO: ‘It feels like a mainstream trend [reducing sugar] is being boosted by a micro-trend [keto]’ –

However, surging sales of brands such as Halo Top (which gives consumers permission to eat an entire tub of ice cream without the guilt) and ‘no sugar added’ chocolate brand Lily’s (which replaces sugar with erythritol, inulin, dextrin, and stevia extract) suggest that many consumers are still willing to forgo ‘kitchen cupboard ingredients,’ provided products deliver on taste, Lily’s Sweets CEO Jane Miller told FoodNavigator-USA.

While no sugar added chocolate used to be the preserve of diabetics and dieters, the category is now attracting the more mainstream consumer, with Lily’s performing strongly when it is merchandised next to regular chocolate, said Miller.

Whenwe did consumer research in November as to purchase intent for our new products, we had a top two box score (definitely/probably would buy) of 94% from Lily’s consumers and 77% of category buyers. The first number shows the loyalty of the Lily’s consumer and the second shows the mainstream appeal of no-sugar added products.”

You do get some polarizing reactions to erythritol  

Asked about the ingredients list, she said: “You do get some polarizing reactions to erythritol ​[a sugar alcohol] in the natural ​[segment], but with stevia the issue is more that people think it will have an aftertaste, so I always say ‘Just try it,’ and people are so surprised because they really can’t taste it at all in our products.

“When we were going through the rebrand, we considered taking the phrase ‘stevia sweetened’ off the front of the pack because stevia can be polarizing, but what we found in the research was that if you don’t tell consumers what you’re doing ​[how you are creating a no sugar added product] they have a real disconnect about what it actually is.”