In 1789 Marie Antoinette was told that her people had no bread and her response was “Let them eat cake.” Well, with the New Dietary Guidelines recommending us to cut sugar intake by half and to not eat more than 26 ounce of protein a week, people shouldn’t eat as much cake. Instead we should be using fruits in creative ways to satisfy sugar cravings. It has been reported that on average, Americans consume about 22 teaspoons of sugar per day which adds up to nearly 30- 34 five pounds bags of sugar per year! This has caused a worldwide trend to substitute fruits for sugars and meats.
The majority of people don’t fully understand exactly how much sugar they are consuming on a daily basis. Many Americans are also unaware of the amount of sugar and sweeteners hidden in the “normal” things that we consume everyday. Both sugar and high fructose corn syrup are found in many barbeque sauces, ketchups, crackers, and breads. However, actions are being taken to improve this issue. The new Dietary Guidelines imposed by the Obama Administration hopes to cut the standard daily sugar intake by half by targeting school cafeterias and imposing taxes, with the goal being for Americans to consume no more than 12 teaspoons of sugar per day. This dramatic cut back is due to the fact that in the last five years there has been a large amount of evidence linking high levels of sugar consumption to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
In an effort to cut down on sugar intake, people have used various fruits as a sugar substitute in desserts, that provide the sweet flavor that they crave, yet are free of sugar’s harmful side effects. One example is the use of frozen bananas to make ice cream. The Blue Java banana is reported to both taste and have a similar mouthfeel to vanilla ice cream. “Unlike the starchier bananas that dominate Western grocery stores, ice cream bananas are creamier and fluffier.” (cassandra.co) Banan Bowls is an ice cream company in Honolulu Hawaii that uses local frozen bananas. Nana Nice Cream is a dairy free ice cream company in London, England that also uses bananas to make their healthier ice cream.
Another recently emerging fruit as sweets substitute are cotton candy grapes. These grapes taste just like spun sugar and are formed by cross-pollinating several grape varieties. For years, the demand for these sugary tasting grapes has grown so much that Grapery, the company that makes them, “… has increased production of them by four to five times over the past couple of years.” (cassandra.co) Manufactures have picked up on this trend and are beginning to use it in their marketing strategy. “Cuties” the mandarin fruit company has begin to position themselves as a substitute brand for candy. The fruit company has placed billboards across the country with a picture of a mandarin next to the words “ Candy Fix” or “Extra Handy for I Want Candy.” This is an perfect example of fruit brands understanding the consumers want for a candy substitute and aligning their product as a option.
The jackfruit, which is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, has also become an “imposter fruit” staple in the marketplace. The taste of this fruit resembles the taste of the popular bubble gum brand Juicy Fruit. In its native regions, it has been used in various dessert items like ice cream.
Studies have shown that the extra daily servings of unprocessed red meats increases the risk of dying prematurely by 13%. (Health.Harvard.edu) In addition to the growing concern of excessive sugar intake, awareness about the negative effects of excessively consuming red meats is becoming a more relevant topic of discussion. “The suggestion to limit meat consumption comes in a more subtle form. For instance, the New Dietary Guidelines note that many teen boys and adult men consume more than the recommended 26 ounces a week of protein from animal sources, and suggest reducing overall intake of protein rich foods by decreasing consumption of meat, poultry, and eggs.” (npr.org) Though subtle, it is well known that red meat has shown a share of negative side effects. The global diabetes community posted that, “Consumption of red meat has been linked with increased incidences of heart disease, colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes.” (diabetes.co.uk) Jackfruit has also recently emerged as a popular meat alternative in tacos, because when cooked, it pulls apart to resemble a carnitas-like texture. This movement toward the reduction of red meat consumption has extended to Finland, where a start up company has made a meat substitute made from oats and beans called “Pulled Oats.” With health concerns associated with red meat arising, innovative new products are cropping up to satisfy consumer’s red meat cravings.
Both sugar substitutes and meat alternatives stem from the preconceived notion that they are unhealthy in large portions like many things, and are becoming more relevant due to the New Dietary Guidelines imposed by the Obama administration. The recent trend in sugar and meat substitutes has influenced the purchasing decisions of consumers, thus provoking the food and beverage industry to meet the demand around the world. Manufacturers can both be nimble and relevant, by clearly displaying the ingredients and health benefits that the consumers are seeking as these food substitution products gain popularity. Now in 2016 Marie Antoinette might say, “Let them eat their sugar and meat substitutes.”