Loudpixel, a social media research company, has released a new study examining social perceptions around artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, sucralose, stevia, sugar alcohols and sugar free products as a whole.
Researchers examined social media posts across Twitter, blogs, comments, videos, Facebook, forums and mainstream news to determine overall sentiment and specific conversation drivers related to each sugar substitute.
The team examined perceptions around the most discussed side effects and benefits of each substitute, including general health perceptions, potential to cause cancer, headaches, effects on vision, weight gain/loss, memory loss, toxicity and other factors.
Researchers also examined sentiment around the most discussed food and beverage categories and companies—including Monsanto, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, gum brands, flavoured water, direct sugar replacements (Splenda, Spoonful, Equal, NutraSweet, Truvia) and others.
Findings from the study include:
- Overall, Sucralose led the majority of social conversations (44%), followed by aspartame (36.7%), Stevia (34.5%) and sugar alcohols (8%).
- Aspartame drove the highest percentage of negative conversations (91% negative).
- Nearly 42% of people talking about aspartame in social media mentioned negative side effects.
- Cancer was the most mentioned side effect of sugar substitutes (20% of side effect mentions).
- 73% of social posts that mentioned stevia in relation to health were positive.
- Soda led the aspartame conversation (25.5% of conversations), followed by gum (11.6%).
- Splenda was the most discussed product related to sugar substitutes (35% of all social media posts).
- Stevia was the most favoured sugar substitute (highest percentage of positive mentions and least percentage of negative mentions) across social media platforms.
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