Know Your Products: Part 3 Condiments

When you go into a business to discuss providing coffee service they are expecting you to be the expert on all aspects.  Including the little things like condiments.  Knowing the various products your company provides, the prices, equipment you use, and all the basic business info are standard sales info.

What info will show them you are truly the expert? Here is some info on condiments to help you become more of an expert.

Part 3 Condiments:

Here are 4 resources for more info:
More than half of the US population uses nondairy creamers
Canadian Study: Demand for Dairy Milk and Milk Alternatives
A Complete Visual Guide to 11 Different Kinds of Sugar
Sugar Substitutes

The two most common condiments for coffee and tea services are nondairy creamers and sugar. These are used to add a rich texture and flavor to a cup of coffee or tea.

For people who cannot or do not eat dairy foods, nondairy creamer offers an alternative. Many of the brands and flavors come with some drawbacks.  Most notably the inclusion of partially hydrogenated oils, also known as trans-fats.

Sharing the nutritional facts about nondairy creamer you provide will help your customers decide what products to use and what healthier alternatives to consider.

What’s not in nondairy creamers?

Nutrients! Nondairy creamers are basically empty calories. Particularly the sugar and fat calories in the flavored varieties.

Nondairy creamers do not supply essential vitamins and minerals. Neither liquid or powdered versions supply calcium, iron, vitamin C or vitamin A.

One good point is nondairy creamers are low in sodium.

What’s in nondairy creamers?

Nondairy creamer contains no dietary cholesterol; however, it does contain fat. The calorie and fat content in nondairy creamers depends on both flavor and type, liquid and powder.

  • Liquid plain nondairy creamer contains between 15 and 20 calories and contains about 1 gram of fat per tablespoon.
  • Flavored liquid nondairy creamer can range between 20 and 35 calories and can contain as much as 3 grams of fat per teaspoon.
  • Plain nondairy cream powder contains about 10 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per tablespoon.
  • Flavored nondairy cream powders contain between 10 and 20 calories per teaspoon and can have up to 1 gram of fat per teaspoon.
  • Up to half of these calories come from the fat content.
  • Fat-free varieties cut the calories by reducing or eliminating the saturated and/or trans-fat content.

Many brands and flavors contain partially hydrogenated oils, which are code words for trans-fat. Trans-fats are dangerous because they raise your bad cholesterol level.  This puts you at a higher risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association, AHA reports eating trans fats can also raise your risk of type-2 diabetes.

The AHA suggests people restrict total fat intake to less than 25% to 35% of your daily calories, and limit saturated fat to less than 7% of your calorie intake.

Sugar content in nondairy creamers is another big concern. The AHA recommends a daily limit for added sugar of 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men. These limits are intended to reduce the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Small amount of nondairy creamer can quickly contribute toward these limits.

  • Plain nondairy creamer in liquid or powder form contains less than 1 gram of sugar per serving.
  • Flavored varieties, such as hazelnut, French vanilla, amaretto or caramel, frequently have a significantly higher sugar content.
  • A tablespoon of liquid flavored nondairy creamers contains an average of about 5 grams or 1.25 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Powdered nondairy creamer average about 7 grams or 1.5 teaspoons of sugar.

Milk alternatives are a growing industry which some consumers prefer these condiments for their nondairy creamer. New products with different qualities are finding customers seeking dairy alternatives for a variety of personal reasons.

The milk-alternatives industry includes the following types:
Traditional alternatives; soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk.
Newer alternative products; oat milk, hemp milk and hazelnut milk.

EcoWatch has an evaluation of 6 top milk alternatives.


White sugar packets and sugar substitute packets are commonly distributed condiments for coffee service.

Sugars come in a wide variety of types. Sugar derived from sugarcane and sugar beets is the most widely consumed. Only cereals and vegetable oils provided more kilocalories per capita per day on average than these sugars. This is why the World Health Organization recommends that both adults and children reduce the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake.

The US Food and Drug Administration asks people not to exceed 100% the recommended Daily Value (DV) of added sugars. For a person consuming 2000 calories a day, 50 grams is the same as 200 calories, and thus 10% of total calories – the same guidance as the World Health Organization.

US average intake for adults over 20 is 125 grams for men and 99 grams for women. This is basically double the recommended DV.

How is this consumed?
 An average 12-ounce (335 mL) cans of soda contain 39 grams of sugar.
 Standard white sugar packets 2 to 4 gram
 Processed foods use sugars extensively

Many may not recognize all the different names used for processed sugars.  Here is a list of 56 names of sugars from standard labels:
Barley malt, Barbados sugar, Beet sugar, Brown sugar, Buttered syrup, Cane juice, Cane sugar, Caramel, Corn syrup, Corn syrup solids, Confectioner’s sugar, Carob syrup, Castor sugar, Date sugar, Dehydrated cane juice, Demerara sugar, Dextran, Dextrose, Diastatic malt, Diatase, Ethyl maltol, Free-flowing brown sugars, Fructose, Fruit juice, Fruit juice concentrate, Galactose, Glucose, Glucose solids, Golden sugar, Golden syrup, Grape sugar, High fructose corn syrup, Honey, Icing sugar, Invert sugar, Lactose, Malt, Maltodextrin, Maltose, Malt syrup, Mannitol, Maple syrup, Molasses, Muscovado, Panocha, Powdered sugar, Raw sugar, Refiner’s syrup, Rice syrup, Sorbitol, Sorghum syrup, Sucrose, Sugar (granulated), Treacle, Turbinado sugar, Yellow sugar.

Sugar Substitutes

Natural and chemical sweeteners with much stronger capacity than sugar are widely used to reduce sugar consumption. Called “artificial sweeteners” or “non-caloric sweeteners,” they are widely used in “light,” “reduced calorie,” and “sugar-free” foods and drinks. Also, commonly distributed in packets similar to sugar packets.

These are FDA approved sugar substitutes in the United States:
o Acesulfame K (brand names: Sunett and Sweet One)
o Advantame
o Aspartame (two brand names: Equal and Nutrasweet)
o Neotame (brand name: Newtame)
o Saccharin (two brand names: Sweet ‘N Low and Sweet Twin)
o Sucralose (brand name: Splenda)

Other sugar substitutes are “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) products by the FDA and do not require FDA approval.
o stevia or steviol glycosides (two brand names: Pure Via and Truvia)
o monk fruit extracts (two brand names: Monk Fruit in the Raw and PureLo).

Sugar alcohols are another class of GRAS sugar substitute.
o Mannitol
o Sorbitol
o Xylitol

Knowing your products and your options allows you to better serve your customers. When your customers ask:
Do you offer your customer reduced-fat, fat-free or sugar-free creamers?
Do you offer other milk alternative products?
What artificial sweeteners do you offer?

Answering these types of questions gives you an opportunity to share additional information about your condiments. Telling them why you choose the products you sell. Showing healthy alternatives demonstrates concern. Sharing information builds confidence in you as a preferred vendor. This is an important step in building a trusting relationship with your customers.

Feel free to share this information in whole or in part.

Check out the other 2 Parts of this Know Your Products series:

Part 1: Coffee   Part 2: Tea

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