Types and Amounts of Nonnutritive Sweeteners Purchased by US Households: A Comparison of 2002 and 2018 Nielsen Homescan Purchases



      Purchases of foods containing nonnutritive sweetener (NNS) alone or in combination with caloric sweeteners (CS) has increased in recent years in the United States. At the same time clinical evidence is emerging of different cardiometabolic effects of each NNS type.


      To examine the prevalence and volume purchased of commonly consumed types of NNS in packaged food and beverage products comparing 2002 and 2018 using data from nationally representative samples of US households.


      Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panels (The Nielsen Company); 2002 and 2018.

      Main outcome measures

      Prevalence and volume of foods and beverages purchased containing CS, NNS, both CS and NNS, or neither CS nor NNS, as well as prevalence and volume of products containing specific NNS types.

      Statistical analyses performed

      Differences examined using Student t test, P value of <.05 considered significant.


      Volume of products purchased containing CS decreased comparing 2002 and 2018 (436.6 ± 1.6 to 362.4 ± 1.3 g/d; P < .05), yet increased for products containing both CS and NNS (10.8-36.2 g/d; P < .05). Regarding specific types of NNS, changes were noted in the prevalence of households purchasing products containing saccharin (1.3%-1.1%; P < .05), aspartame (60.0%-49.4%; P < .05), rebaudioside A (0.1%-25.9%) and sucralose (38.7%-71.0%). Non-Hispanic whites purchased twice the volume of products containing NNS compared to Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks in both years. Beverages were predominantly responsible for larger volume per capita purchases of products containing only NNS as well as both CS and NNS.


      A decline in purchases of products containing CS occurred in tandem with an increase in purchases of products containing both CS and NNS, along with a large shift in the specific types of NNS being purchased by US households. New NNS types enter the market regularly, and it is important to monitor changes in the amount of NNS and products containing NNS that consumers purchase.


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      E. K. Dunford is a research fellow, Food Policy Division, The George Institute for Global Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


      D. R. Miles is a research programming unit director, Department of Nutrition, Gillings Global School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill.


      S. W. Ng is a research assistant professor, Carolina Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill.


      B. Popkin is a W. R. Kenan Jr distinguished professor, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill.

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        Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsVol. 121Issue 12
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