Stevia’s use as ingredient may more than double by 2017

by Jeff Gelski
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LONDON — The global value of stevia as an additive used in manufacturing foods and beverages reached $110 million in 2013, according to a report released Jan. 13 by Mintel and Leatherhead Food Research. The report forecast that figure to reach $275 million by 2017 and said all plant-based sweeteners will become more popular.

The global market for all intense sweeteners as additives used in manufacturing foods and beverages was $1.27 billion by the end of 2013. The report forecast that figure to grow about 10% to $1.4 billion by 2017.

“Plant-derived sweeteners, such as stevia, are expected to provide the main impetus for growth in the sweetener market in the coming years,” said Emma Gubisch, strategic insight manager at United Kingdom-based Leatherhead Food Research. “As manufacturers work to create the right taste profile for stevia and other plant-derived sweeteners, such as monk fruit, to obtain regulatory clearance, the artificial sweetener market still offers growth opportunities, in particular the sucralose and acesulfame-K markets.”

The use of plant-derived sweeteners has grown over the past few years. Of all the food and beverage products launched in 2009 that used intense sweeteners, 5% of the launches used plant-derived sweeteners. Another 2% used a blend of artificial and plant-derived sweeteners.

By 2013, of all the food and beverage products launched that used intense sweeteners, 15% used plant-derived sweeteners. Another 3% used a blend of artificial and plant-derived sweeteners. In North America between 2011 and 2013, 28% of all the food and beverage products launched with intense sweeteners used plant-based sweeteners.

Artificial sweeteners still are found in many product launches using intense sweeteners. Acesulfame potassium, which often is found in sweetener blends, was used in 49% of those launches in 2013, which was down from 56% in 2009. Sucralose use has held steady in recent years, and in 2013 it was used in 40% of all products launched with an intense sweetener. Aspartame dropped to 32% in 2013 from 40% in 2009.

In value terms, sucralose is the leader and accounts for 34% of the global intense sweeteners market, according to the report.

“Much of the growth in the global sweeteners market is set to be driven by growing consumer concerns over sugar intake, whilst the development of more plant-derived sweeteners is also anticipated to benefit the market,” said Laura Jones, food science analyst at London-based Mintel. “The gradual demise of sugar yet desire for sweetened food and drink products suggests good opportunities for intense sweeteners.

“Intense sweeteners offer a source of sweetness without the calorie contribution of sugar, an increasingly attractive proposition to consumers struggling to manage their weight. Signs that the global market for intense sweeteners has reacted to this increased demand for healthier sweetener solutions is already evident.”
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