At most dining tables and condiment stations at restaurants across the U.S., patrons have their pick of colors when it comes to sweeteners. While it would be easier for restaurants to supply only one type of low-calorie sweetener, many health-conscious consumers have their own preference and expect to see their preferred sweetener, especially with many looking to reduce sugar in their diet. And, whereas consumers today are more adventurous than ever when dining out, many still stick with one sweetener, usually identified by the color of the packet, to sweeten their iced tea, latte or coffee. While exciting new menu options are welcomed by consumers, the freedom to customize is just as important, and not offering a consumer’s preferred sweetener can have a large impact on their experience.
Aspartame (sold as Equal or NutraSweet in the blue packet) remains one of the most researched food ingredients in the world, with a long history of safe use and 200 studies attesting to its safety. In addition, by being on the market for over three decades, aspartame benefits from consumers’ brand recognition and trust in its consistent availability. Aspartame is almost identical to sugar in terms of sweet taste, and while aspartame has long been used by consumers, today more than ever consumers are looking for ways to cut calories without compromising flavor.
In addition to tabletop sweeteners, aspartame can be found in a variety of popular products, such as diet sodas, chewing gum, and breakfast cereals. If there is still consumer demand for aspartame, why have blue packets begun to disappear from restaurant tables and coffee shops? Do businesses believe all low calorie sweeteners are the same, and assume that offering one or two choices of colored packets will suffice?
The fact is, taste remains the top factor when it comes to choosing between low-calorie sweeteners, and consumers can taste which one they prefer. Therefore, making sure customers have access to every option, including the blue packet, is so important. If your goal is customer satisfaction, keeping aspartame on the table next to the pink, green, and yellow packets is one way to ensure “blue packet” people stay happy.
For your next order, don’t forget the blue packets!