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Article

Sweet Talk: A Qualitative Study Exploring Attitudes towards Sugar, Sweeteners and Sweet-Tasting Foods in the United Kingdom

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Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University, Poole House, Talbot Campus, Bournemouth BH12 5BB, UK
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Division of Human Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University & Research, Stippeneng 4, 6708 WE Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth House, Lansdowne Campus, Bournemouth BH1 3LH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Cristina Calvo-Porral
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061172
Received: 24 March 2021 / Revised: 16 May 2021 / Accepted: 19 May 2021 / Published: 24 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Consumer Behavior and Food Choice)
Worldwide initiatives currently aim to reduce free sugar intakes, but success will depend on consumer attitudes towards sugar and the alternatives. This work aimed to explore attitudes towards sugar, sweeteners and sweet-tasting foods, towards consumption and related policies, in a sample of the general public of the UK. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with 34 adults (7 males, ages: 18–65 years). Thematic analysis identified six themes: ‘Value’ (e.g., pleasure, emotions), ‘Angle’ (e.g., disinterest), ‘Personal Relevance’ (to be concerned and/or change one’s own behavior), ‘Personal Responsibility’ (one has an active relationship with these food items), ‘Understanding’ (the acquisition, comprehension and application of information) and ‘It’s Not Up to Me’ (a passive approach, because intake is subjected to other factors). Both positive and negative attitudes towards sugar, sweeteners and sweet-tasting foods were expressed in all themes. Participants also reported varied engagement with and motivations towards all food items, with implications for intakes. Suggested challenges and potential strategies for reducing free sugar intakes highlighted the need for differing approaches. Future work should assess associations between attitudes and intakes. For greatest population benefit, evidence of the dominant attitudes in those in greatest need of reduced free sugar intakes would be of value. View Full-Text
Keywords: sweet taste; sweetness; perceptions; focus groups; qualitative research; thematic analysis sweet taste; sweetness; perceptions; focus groups; qualitative research; thematic analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tang, C.S.; Mars, M.; James, J.; de Graaf, K.; Appleton, K.M. Sweet Talk: A Qualitative Study Exploring Attitudes towards Sugar, Sweeteners and Sweet-Tasting Foods in the United Kingdom. Foods 2021, 10, 1172. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061172

AMA Style

Tang CS, Mars M, James J, de Graaf K, Appleton KM. Sweet Talk: A Qualitative Study Exploring Attitudes towards Sugar, Sweeteners and Sweet-Tasting Foods in the United Kingdom. Foods. 2021; 10(6):1172. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061172

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tang, Claudia S., Monica Mars, Janet James, Kees de Graaf, and Katherine M. Appleton 2021. "Sweet Talk: A Qualitative Study Exploring Attitudes towards Sugar, Sweeteners and Sweet-Tasting Foods in the United Kingdom" Foods 10, no. 6: 1172. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061172

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