A Handy Guide to Determining Sugar Content

Sugar content is a hot topic in the food and beverage industry due to perceived links with obesity and adverse health effects, and manufacturers must carefully monitor and control its concentration in end products to ensure regulatory compliance. This guide reviews a range of methods commonly used to determine sugar content.

Sugar is a key ingredient in many foods and beverages, used for purposes such as enhancing taste, color and flavor, providing bulk and texture, aiding fermentation and as a preservative. The sugar content varies depending on the reason for its addition, and it is essential to determine its exact concentration in foodstuffs to ensure accurate nutritional labeling of the end products, and to demonstrate compliance and meet customers’ expectations. This has become increasingly important in recent years amid growing concern about its effect on human health.

As well as determining the sugar content in end products, the food and beverage industry must determine its concentration in raw materials and added ingredients. This can be performed by a variety of methods, chosen according to the sample type and the prevailing industry standards and guidelines. This guide reviews a number of techniques used to determine sugar content, including refractometry, density measurement, titration, spectrophotometry and moisture analysis.