Sophie is the Manager of Trends for EMEA, responsible for ensuring content in the region is insightful, while also working with the wider team on developing new trends.

A German supermarket has asked customers to choose how much sugar it should put in its chocolate pudding.

As part of its wider strategy to reduce the amount of sugar in its own-label products, German supermarket chain Rewe sold a pack with four different varieties of its chocolate pudding for a month, each containing differing amounts of sugar. The existing option contains 14g of sugar per 100g, with the other three recipes reducing the sugar content by 20%, 30% and 40%, without adding artificial sweeteners. Customers were asked to vote online for their preferred recipe, with the result likely to influence the sugar content in other products produced by the supermarket. After the voting, Rewe announced that the -30% variety was the most popular – and will be in stores as early as May 2018.

The customer is always right

The desserts market in Germany has fluctuated in recent years, likely in part due to more consumers embracing healthier eating habits. Although sales are expected to steadily increase over the coming years, growth remains slow with a low predicted volume increase in 2018, according to Mintel Market Sizes.

While health concerns over sugar consumption have seen a number of brands adapt their recipes or introduce new product lines, Rewe’s decision to seek its customers’ approval is a novel approach. Customer feedback is more commonly used to introduce new flavours, rather than tweak an existing product. It’s a smart move, ensuring the brand avoids the backlash other brands have received about changing a popular recipe while helping consumers feel like their opinions are valued.

The initiative is particularly interesting given the context of the category – a pudding is ordinarily a sweet and indulgent treat – so cutting the sugar content too much is likely to hinder the enjoyment of the product. By involving the consumer in the change, Rewe avoids a nannying or patronising approach to improving the healthiness of its range, with the campaign instead putting customers in control and acting as a gentle reminder of the need to stay aware of sugar consumption. The result is a ‘permissible indulgence’, showcasing the 2018 Mintel global Food & Drink Trend: Self-fulfilling practices.