How much sugar is really consumed globally? And how much do shoppers care?

In the global league table of sugar consumption, India takes gold. But it’s a headline that only tells half of the story because it also has the highest population (18% of all humans on the planet live in India).

When laid out against the rest of the world, in Health Focus International’s 2024 Global Trend Study the Indian market’s sugar consumption is approximately the same as global sugar production. The interesting findings don’t end there though.

India consumers the most sugar in the world Image: Getrty/Fevziie Ryman

Surprising findings: Sugar consumption and concerns

While their per capita sugar intake is fairly standard, Indian consumers are more concerned about their sugar intake than many of the other 25 countries analysed in the report. Indeed more than three-quarters (76%) of Indian consumers are extremely or very concerned about sugar, compared to a 59% average among the global population.

“Countries like Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Thailand that have higher sugar intakes are also highly concerned about sugar, which is the relationship we would predict,” Angela Johnson, Dietary and Nutrition Insights Manager at HealthFocus International, told Confectionery News. 

“Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule,” she says.

What’s more common is for countries such as Nigeria, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam which have low sugar intakes to also be the populations most concerned about it.

“It’s easy to assume that their high concern is helping them limit their sugar intake,” Johnson says. But, it’s more likely down to a variety of factors, including socioeconomics and the ability to spend money on less-healthy, ‘luxury’ foods and beverage products.