China beverage brand Genki Forest apologized Saturday for deceptively advertising its products as having no sugar.
In an apology statement, the fast-growing company said that the difference between "sugar-free" and "sucrose-free" was not well explained in the product promotion and packaging, leading to a "misunderstanding".
Genki Forest promised to replace the packaging claim of “sucrose-free” with “low sugar” on some of its milk tea produced since Feb 4 and all milk tea produced since Mar 18.
Artificially-sweetened beverages (ASBs) are alternatives to full-sugared drinks. They contain no sugar and are sweetened with artificial sweeteners instead. ASBs are often known as 'diet' versions of soft drinks, and may be perceived by consumers as the healthier option for those who want to lose weight or reduce their sugar intake.
Despite having no or very little energy content, there is a concern that ASBs might trigger compensatory food intake by stimulating sweet taste receptors. This, together with the consumers’ awareness of the low-calorie content of ASBs, may result in overconsumption of other foods, thus contributing to obesity, type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related health problems.