Submitted to: ERS Outlook Report Series
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/19/2005
Publication Date: 8/19/2005
Citation: Haley, S., Reed, J., Lin, B., Cook, A.J. 2005. Sweetener consumption in the United States: Distribution by demographic and product characteristics. ERS Outlook Report Series. p. 1-19. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: U.S. consumption of added sugars has increased substantially since 1985 and has only leveled off since 1999. Although U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data has documented the overall growth trend, not as much has been inferred from USDA survey data. This article helps fill that knowledge gap by reporting findings for sweetener consumption developed using commodity level food intakes from USDA's 1994-96, 1998 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, classified according to a set of income and demographic characteristics. Among the conclusions are: highest per capita sweetener consumption occurred among individuals 1) in the Midwest, 2) in suburban areas, 3) with increased income up to a certain level, and 4) those that are non-Hispanic whites and blacks. Sweetener consumption was 1) lowest in the Northeast, 2) only slightly lower in rural areas, 3) lower at the lowest and highest levels of income, and 4) lower for Hispanics and other racial/ethnic origin groupings. For most sweetener product groupings, men consume about 25 percent more than women, with the exception of corn sweeteners in the sweets and beverage category (mostly carbonated beverages) where men out-consume women by over 50 percent. Differentiation of consumer patterns provides a focal starting point for analyzing changes in sweetener consumption across time. This is important since excess consumption of sweeteners is one of the contributing factors to the epidemic level of morbid obesity existing among the US population. While providing benchmark information for researchers and the public, similar studies are need to reflect more current consumption patterns.