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Soorten en hoeveelheden zoetmakers in zoete zwakalcoholhoudende dranken

Publiekssamenvatting

Zoete zwak-alcoholische drankjes die in supermarkten worden verkocht bevatten veel suikers, zoals glucose, fructose en sucrose. Dit blijkt uit een onderzoek naar 65 willekeurig gekochte producten met een alcohol percentage tussen de 2,5 en 19,5 %, werd maximaal 442 g/l suiker aangetoond. In drankjes die populair zijn bij jongeren (met alcoholpercentages vaak onder de 7 %) bleek de range van de hoeveelheden suiker per liter vergelijkbaar te zijn met die van normale fruitsappen en frisdranken. Het ontwikkelen van beleidsmaatregelen voor alcoholhoudende dranken die gebaseerd zijn op alcoholpercentage in combinatie met zoetkracht (of suikergehalte) zal dus in principe invloed kunnen hebben op de verkoop en consumptie van de onderzochte producten. Alleen voor de bieren zullen additionele maatregelen op basis van zoetkracht (of suikergehalte) weinig toevoegen ten opzichte van regulering op basis van alcohol alléén. Het gebruiken van zoetkracht van dranken zal in de praktijk echter lastig kunnen zijn omdat fabrikanten ook andere toevoegingen kunnen gebruiken die de alcoholaversie verlagen. Bovendien is 'zoete smaak' soms moeilijk kwantificeerbaar in producten met meerdere smaken.

Synopsis

Sweetened low-alcoholic drinks sold in supermarkets contain a significant amount of sugars, including glucose, fructose and sucrose. Sugars between 32 g/l and 144 g/l have been found in randomly selected products with an alcohol percentage of maximum 7%. This range of sugar concentrations is usually also found in non-alcoholic soft drinks and juices. Sweetened beers usually have the lowest amounts of sugars and alcohol, while sweetened mix-drinks have higher amounts of alcohol, the highest percentages being quantified in cans. When reference was made to fruits (lemon for example) in the name of a drink, high concentrations of limonic acids were identified. It has been reported in literature that that a sweet taste can suppress the alcohol aversion, in particular for young people. All drinks in this study were sweetened. Other flavours were also added to various products, such as acids in the lemon drinks. It is likely that producers add all these flavours to the product to achieve its total taste, and that the full taste limits the aversion to the alcohol taste. There is no relationship between alcohol percentage and sugar content, which means that taxation based on alcohol percentage is not identical to taxation based on sugar content. However, the sweetness of a drink is not identical to the amounts of sweeteners used in a drink. The sweetness of different sweeteners or combinations of different kinds of sweeteners or other flavours cannot be easily compared to the concentrations in the drinks. Sweetness is therefore a difficult unit to use in price measures. It is also possible that producers may use lower levels of sugars and sweeteners and add extra flavours when the sugar content and sweetness is used for taxation. Furthermore, consumers can easily compensate for the lowering of sugar content and sweetness by adding sugars themselves in order to circumvent price measures. This would increase the likelihood of self-mixing (already seen among consumers), although measures have been taken to break this trend by restricting the sale of strong alcoholic beverages to minors.
 

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