Surrey, UK — Rallied by improved taste and textures and increased consumer demand, stevia is anticipated to lead the intense sweetener market by 2017, according to Mintel Group Ltd. and Leatherhead Food Research.
The market researchers report that stevia as an additive to food and beverages totaled $110 million in 2013 and expects that total to reach $275 million during the next three years.
In addition, while only five percent of products launched in 2009 included intense plant-derived sweeteners (along with a further two percent featuring a blend of artificial and plant-based sweeteners), 15 percent of items introduced in 2013 included intense plant-based sweeteners (three percent included a blend). Between 2001 and 2013, plant-based sweeteners were used in 28 percent of product launches in North America.
Laura Jones, food science analyst at Mintel, says: “Much of the growth in the global sweeteners market is set to be driven by growing consumer concerns over sugar intake, while the development of more plant-derived sweeteners is also anticipated to benefit the market. Signs that the global market for intense sweeteners has reacted to this increased demand for ‘healthier’ sweetener solutions is already evident.”
While stevia products are being touted as the next wave of intense sweeteners, the researchers note that acesulfame K, sucralose and aspartame are still the leading sugar substitutes.
However, they say that manufacturers are still working to reformulate products with stevia and are waiting for other plant-derived sweeteners, such as monk fruit, to receive regulatory approval.