What does sugar free really mean?
I have just added the Sula sugar free sweets to my range of products. I always include a list of ingredients to the description as I know how important it is to my customers to have as much information as possible. As I did this, I noticed that these delicious sweets contain fruit juice which means that there is some natural sugar in them. I take food labelling regulations very seriously and at first I was a bit worried at the thought that such a well known and highly regarded product could be mislabelled. A bit of research quickly reassured me that all was well.
Definition of sugar free
The EU lays down strict rules about how any food that claims particular properties can be described . To be "sugar free" a product must have less than .5 grams of sugar from any source in every 100 grams and the Sula products definitely conform to this.
What is Low Sugar?
Some products ( though none that I currently sell) can be described as "low sugar". This has quite a precise definition - not more than 5 grams of sugar per 100 grams or for liquids not more than 2.5 grams per 100 ml. (a teaspoon of sugar is about 5 grams)
No added sugar?
The different terms used in food labelling can be confusing but are designed to give the key information to those people who need to watch their intake of certain food substances. In particular, it is worth remembering a product that is described as "no added sugars" or "contains naturally occurring sugars" may in fact contain sugar at a level that makes it unsuitable for some diabetics.
Want to know more?
Similar labelling rules also exist for all sorts of foods from the amount of fat to the presence of vitamins or the calorie content. If, like me, you are an inveterate label reader, do follow this link to the European definitions.
Just in case you are wondering, it is unlikely that Brexit will have any effect on our food labelling!