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Environmental Trend Analysis

SPLENDA Environmental Trends


Environmental trends can be seen everywhere, and they affect all aspects of our lives. For marketing specialists, following and understanding environmental trends can make the difference between success and failure. This paper will first describe trends and the environments where trends are found. An analysis of factors within these trends that could influence the sales and marketing of Splenda plus a look at how changes in these trends could affect our product will complete the paper.

What are Environmental Trends?

There are forces at play in the world that can have a profound affect on our lives. Some of these, known as fads, are short lived, and unpredictable. While not getting a pet rock might have been devastating to a child of the `70’s, this fad didn’t have a long-term affect on many people’s lives. Fads may be ‘all the rage’ right now, but they’ll be gone tomorrow, and a new fad will arise to take their place. Some fads develop staying power and become trends. For example, the fitness fad of the ‘80’s has grown into a trend that has people making fitness a way of life. Trends, particularly megatrends that can last “between seven and ten years, or longer” (Kotler & Keller, 2009, p. 73), have a more profound and far-reaching affect, and from a marketing point of view, are far more predictable. (Kotler & Keller, 2009, pp. 72-73)

In order to navigate trends in an ever-changing, global economy, businesses “must monitor six major forces: demographic, economic, social-cultural, natural, technological, and political-legal” (Kotler & Keller, 2009, p. 74). Demographics are the study of how the population grows, along with the breakdown of age, ethnic, educational, and familial groups. Economic trends indicate income distribution, including debt, credit availability, and how people are spending or saving their money. Social-cultural trends are indicative of our core values, and they center on how we see the world in which we live and our place in it. Natural trends monitor the world around us, and our effect on raw materials, nonrenewable resources, the atmosphere, and the environment. Technological trends involve all things technology including innovation, research, development, and other technological advances, while the political-legal trends speak of the regulations that protect both businesses and consumers from unfair business practices.

Environmental Variables Affecting Splenda

Although any of these trends could have an effect on the low-calorie sweetener industry, three trends have more potential to affect the way we market Splenda: social-cultural, demographics, and legal-political. That’s not to say that economics, the natural world, and technology will not play a role in our future. Because Splenda starts out as sugar, shortages of raw material could affect our production, while technological advances or research could create a more effective way of converting sugar into a no-calorie sweetener. However, these factors are seen as less influential in the end, and are therefore less essential to this analysis of environmental trends.

Social – Cultural Trends

Social and cultural trends are in our highest sphere of influence and should be monitored closely. “The health movement in Western culture has shifted from the desire to look better to the need to promote health” (Cetron & Davies, 2005, p. 35). Reaching and maintaining an ideal weight is difficult, and it can be a challenge to find tasty foods when looking for ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Diabetes is prevalent and creates its own set of challenges for dealing with sugar intake and weight control.

What this means for Splenda is that more people are going to be looking for ways to control both sugar and calorie intake. In order to capitalize on this trend, Splenda needs to continue advertising based on not only weight loss, but also highlighting the value of controlling blood sugar levels. Changes in this healthy megatrend could mean in increase in competitive brands showing up in the market. Changes could also foretell a decrease in no-calorie sweetener use, particularly if fitness is coupled with an all-natural eating trend.

Demographic Trends

The population of the world is getting older. “By 2005, the population of people aged 60 or over surpassed the proportion of under-fives, and it is unlikely that there will ever again be more toddlers than seniors” (Kotler & Keller, 2009, p. 76). Not only are we getting older, we are living longer lives. “Since the beginning of the twentieth century, every generation in the United States has lived three years longer than the previous one” (Cetron & Davies, 2005, p. 29). One of the reasons people are living longer lives is because they are taking better care of themselves, including a healthy diet and lifestyle.

For Splenda, this means our target market has gotten larger. As people concern themselves with diet and a healthy lifestyle in order to live longer lives, they need products that can help them do so. Splenda’s new Essentials line promises no-calorie sweetness plus fiber, anti-oxidants, or B vitamins. While these may be a small addition to the product, they do provide users with something other sweeteners do not offer. Changes in this demographic trend could mean fewer people would need a no-calorie sweetener, or it could evoke copycat products from our competition.

Legal-Political Trends

“The political and legal environment consists of laws, government agencies, and pressure groups that influence and limit various organizations...” (Kotler & Keller, 2009, p. 86). These regulatory bodies provide services that protect consumers and competitors from unfair business practices. Consumer protection is a fast growing trend, and companies can be brought under fire if they attempt to mislead the public, or if they promote their products in a way that infringes on the truth in advertising tenet.

For the makers of Splenda, McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, this has meant settling lawsuits with a variety of entities including five US sugar companies, the makers of Equal, and the French court system. These false-advertising lawsuits claim that “McNeil Nutritionals has deliberately misled consumers with its "made from sugar, tastes like sugar" advertising campaign” (Semuels, 2007). Changes in legal and political trends could mean even stricter advertising laws and enhanced regulations on product claims.


Environmental trends can have far-reaching implications in the world of business. Marketing teams can use Marketing Information Systems in order to be on the forefront of ever-changing developments on a number of fronts, and must consider ways to use trends to their advantage. If an advantage cannot be gleaned through utilizing trends, steps must be taken to minimize damages. Trends, when analyzed and utilized correctly, can make marketing more effective, and can mean the difference between success and failure.


Cetron, M., & Davies, O. (2005). Trends now shaping the future. The Futurist , 28-42/38-50.

Kotler, P., & Keller, K. L. (2009). Marketing Management. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Semuels, A. (2007, November 30). Splenda maker getting legal vitriol from sugar firms. Retrieved July 7, 2011, from Los Angeles Times