The International Trade Commission (ITC) gave its final ruling in April that Niutang – along with a number of other Chinese manufacturers and US distributors – had not infringed Tate & Lyle’s patent rights for sucralose manufacturing. Tate & Lyle had a near monopoly on the global sucralose market, but the ruling effectively opened the market up to competition.
Niutang said that it has the ability to expand capacity further at its Chinese production plants to 1000 tonnes by 2014.
A spokesperson for the company told FoodNavigator-USA.com that Niutang has tripled its sales of sucralose since 2007, but declined to say how much sucralose it now produces. She added: “Three years from now is a very long time but the intention would be to expand further considering the way sales have been going.”
General Manager of Niutang Chemical Licheng Wang Jr. said: “Due to our growing customer base worldwide for Niutang Sucralose, we recently completed expansion of our sucralose capacity to 300 metric tonnes. We are proactively planning for future expansions to ensure that we are able to meet the sucralose needs of the global marketplace.”
The company said that it has been committed to providing the necessary quality assurances for US and European markets, which has helped to enable its continued expansion.
“Niutang is one of the only sucralose manufacturers in China that audits, qualifies and tests incoming suppliers and raw materials,” said Wang.
Other expansion plans
Following the ITC decision, several companies announced expansion plans for their sucralose production facilities, including Niutang, the Guangdong Food Industry Institute/L&P Food Ingredient Co. Ltd, and JK Sucralose, which announced its intention to expand sucralose capacity to 300 metric tonnes by next year. JK Sucralose produced 200 metric tonnes of sucralose last year.
Tate & Lyle announced last week that it plans to close its sucralose plant in McIntosh, Alabama to focus on fully exploiting its fourth generation production technology at its Singapore site. It said that the technology has increased production yields by 25 percent over the past year.
Globally, the high intensity sweetener market is worth $1.3bn and sucralose is the number one sweetener by value in food, with a 36 percent share. North America is the world’s largest market for high intensity sweeteners and sucralose is the leader with a 48 percent share of the market.