The US alternative sweeteners market will grow by 3.3% a year to reach about $1.4bn in 2015 – and naturally positioned sweeteners like stevia and agave nectar will lead the way, claims a new report from market research organization Freedonia.
The new report, Alternative Sweeteners, explores the market for sweeteners other than sugar and high fructose corn syrup, looking at historical market data to 2010, as well as forecasts through 2015 and 2020.
“Gains will be led by continuing market penetration of relatively new entrants to the industry, including the stevia extract rebaudioside-A (Reb A),” the report said, “…Market trends favoring less processed ingredients will drive well publicized usage of sweeteners that can be marketed as ‘natural.’”
Meanwhile, the researcher said that continuing demand for low-calorie foods would ensure a robust market for high-intensity sweeteners and polyols, with aspartame continuing to lead the pack in diet soft drinks, and finding applications elsewhere as demand for diet drinks declines.
“While demand in diet soft drinks, the largest single outlet for alternative sweeteners, will decline, other applications will offer solid opportunities for growth as food processors and consumers seek healthier food options with fewer calories or less high fructose corn syrup,” the report said.
Freedonia also highlighted the 2008 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status recognition for Reb A as a major driving factor for new naturally sweetened products, as well as the 2010 achievement of GRAS status for monk fruit, or luo han guo.
“While this product’s potential remains to be seen, its natural profile is on trend with current consumer purchasing decisions,” the market researcher said, adding that caloric content may not be a stumbling block for consumers who prefer natural foods and beverages however.
“Full-calorie agave nectar is gaining traction due to its natural positioning as an alternative to high fructose corn syrup,” it said.
The alternative sweeteners market is dominated by four main companies that make up 65% of the US market, according to the report: NutraSweet, Tate & Lyle, Roquette Frères, and Corn Products International.