Sweeteners have been all over headlines in 2012:

—“Fructose Consumption Increases Visceral Fat, Study Reports,” The New York Times, February 6, 2012
—“Sugar Seeks Sweet Revenge Against Competition from Corn,” Los Angeles Times, March 20, 2012
—“Is Sugar Toxic?” 60 Minutes, April 1, 2012
—“Rice-Sweetened Baby Formula May Contain Arsenic: U.S. Study,” Reuters, February 16, 2012

Here we brief you on the latest sweeteners news your shoppers will need to know.

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Is it crunch time for your shoppers? Or maybe they’re looking for a sugary sweet deal? Regardless of their snack-time preferences, be sure your store has its bases covered for high-quality, healthy between-meal bites.

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All vegetarians and vegans want to be healthy and happy. They can, unfortunately, face some obstacles on the road to health.

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Today, everyone is a chef, as consumers go to grocery stores in droves looking for cooking oils to add to their home concoctions, be they salads or sizzling sauté dishes. You should be ready to guide them toward oils that not only taste good and are versatile in the kitchen, but also represent a step in the right direction for a healthy diet.

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Every flavor and color chemist is hard at work on products that will please our palettes and our eyes, respectively. What have those working in naturally derived food additives been up to most recently?

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2011 has been another ride on the financial roller coaster. Anyone who has not felt the tremors, bumps and absolute death drops of the economy is extremely lucky. The same is true of small and large businesses alike, even though there are some rays of hope breaking through the cloudy economic storms. It’s arguable that the natural and organic industry is among the bright spots.

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It is an exciting time to be involved with the sweetening of our foods and beverages. Chief among the factors driving change is the movement toward healthier foods, which for many consumers starts with how they ate sweetened. Manufacturers big and small are taking notice, and leveraging their changes in an effort to grab consumer attention. Food and commodity prices are other influencers, affecting product formulation across the manufacturing industry.

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Given the surging food allergy statistics in this country, it’s likely that an overwhelmingly large percentage of your shoppers are looking for a “-free” lunch—especially foods that are devoid of nuts, gluten, lactose, eggs and more.

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It’s hard to stay ambivalent about technology. Either you love it and can’t get enough of it, or you dislike the change it brings, and the way its newness encroaches on our lifestyles. Many are at least fearful of jumping fully on board, because technology, even with all of its potential, can be intimidating to learn and grow with. The prospect of turning central aspects of your natural products store over to these machines? It makes for a daunting decision to be sure, but ask those who have done it, and they’ll likely tell you it was fun, profitable and brought them closer to the needs of their store and its customers.

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An investment into private label is partly a bid to expand the unique brand that a store is, in essence, already providing to its community. Exclusive product offerings give customers a chance to take home with them the quality, the values and the healthy lifestyle that the store embodies for them to begin with.

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