Tate & Lyle sees natural effect on tabletop sweeteners

by Jeff Gelski
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LONDON — Sweeteners based on natural sources have impacted the tabletop sweetener market, said Javed Ahmed, chief executive for Tate & Lyle, P.L.C. in a Feb. 1 conference call.

“Clearly, the naturals there are making inroads into that sector,” he said.

His comments came while London-based Tate & Lyle said in an interim management statement that it will not meet sucralose targets for the full year. Mr. Ahmed cited a continuing soft market in Europe and low volumes in the tabletop segment as reasons for missing the targets.

Sucralose, a high-intensity sweetener, is used as an ingredient in such products as Splenda in the tabletop sweetener market. Suppliers of other high-intensity sweeteners, such as those from stevia extracts, have promoted their products as natural, and they have been used as ingredients in such tabletop sweeteners as Truvia.

“Truvia and all those guys have been there for a long time now, and there is a natural consumer clearly in the market,” Mr. Ahmed said.

Tate & Lyle has increased its presence in the natural high-intensity sweetener market. The company’s Purefruit sweetener from monk fruit is used as an ingredient in the Nectresse tabletop sweetener. Last year Tate & Lyle introduced Tasteva from stevia extracts in Europe and South America, but Tasteva is not used in any tabletop sweeteners, Mr. Ahmed said.

Tate & Lyle has not seen a similar effect of natural high-intensity sweeteners on the business-to-business sector, said Tim Lodge, chief financial officer.

The company on Feb. 1 addressed the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012. Operating profit for the full year for the Specialty Food Ingredients division is expected to be in line with the prior year. Within the division, starch-based specialty ingredients achieved sales growth and volume growth in all regions.

Also within the division, sucralose and other high-intensity sweeteners in the third quarter made gains when compared to the first and second quarters.

“In sucralose, while we saw a continuation of the upward growth trajectory that we’ve seen in the second quarter and volume growth back to its more normal run rate, it was not at the level required to achieve our full-year target when we spoke to you in November,” Mr. Ahmed said.

In the Bulk Ingredients division, overall demand for North American liquid sweeteners was solid in the third quarter. In Europe, margins for liquid sweeteners were in line with the third quarter of the previous year.
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